I enjoyed revisiting this Speyside single malt, it had been a while since I last sampled it. Glenfarclas is one of the few (perhaps now the only?) family owned single malt distilleries. Characteristic of the speyside tradition, this is a whisky with a sherry influence, one that is consistent with all Glenfarclas bottling. They do not play with variations of different cask treatments that you can find in other distillery offerings, they only use ex-sherry barrels for their finishing.
The sweetness comes across clearly to the nose, carried by a blend of vanilla and butterscotch, mixed with understated peat smoke. On the palate, it is complex, warming with the sherry sweetness, cinnamon, and spices teasing the tongue. The finish is nicely balanced, warm and just long enough, with a wisp of smoke lingering in the aftermath.
I know that many are drawn to the sweeter sherry treatments of single malts. The Glenfarclas 17 certainly brings those notes to the performance. Yet, it also reminds you that single malts are complex, with the peat and smoke just pronounced enough to appeal to those who seek those elements in their whisky.
It might just be a whisky that would be good to share when you need to address a range of preferences. Indeed, I would enjoy getting a group of friends, with diverse tastes, together to give this single malt a try. It might just have a little something for everyone. It would be intriguing to see what elements of this whisky’s complex profile would stand out in light of different preferences.