Glenfarclas

Glenfarclas 10 Years Old 2003 (43%,Marks & Spencer, 2013)

Review: Glenfarclas 10 Years Old 2003

Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky

Distillery: Glenfarclas

Bottling: Official for Marks and Spencer

ABV: 43%

Cost: £28 from Marks & Spencer

Score: 84/100

Glenfarclas 10 Year Old 2003 Marks & Spencer

What they say:

This is not just a bottle of Highland Malt. It is the result of over 175 years of tradition and experience – of secrets carried and nutured through six generations of my family here in the heart of Speyside. Many have wondered at the origins of the unique taste of Glenfarclas. Some believe the secrets lies in the tumbling waters of the Green Burn married with the fresh highland air. Others believe it is our great copper stills, which continue to be direct fired, and some believe the secret is my family’s uncompromising commitment to maturing Glenfarclas in the best oak casks in traditional dunnage warehouses. Wherever the secret lies, we invite you to share in enjoying and savouring Glenfarclas. – John L. S. Grant

Distilled in 2003, Bottled 2013 – A traditional Speyside Malt with a heavy sherry influence coming from a single 2003 vintage. This 10 years of age gives it great power and intensity with integrated flavours from the sherry oak. Gentle and mouth filling with toffee apple, light chocolate notes and a long finish.

Glenfarclas 10 Year old 2003 Marks & Spencer

What I say:

I had been looking out for this particular expression after a heads-up on Twitter that Glenfarclas were launching a 2003 10 years old via Marks and Spencers. This hit the shelves at £35 but was instantly discounted to £30 so it was really a no-brainer to purchase this bottle.

Colour:

Deep russet amber gold

Nose:

Oloroso sherry pours out, sweet red fruits, dry leather and nutty aromas

Taste:

Warming chocolate covered raisins, smooth malted barley, a strong toffee and honey sweetness pervades with hints of hazelnuts

Finish:

Medium-length finish like dark chocolate slowly melting in the mouth, the age starts to show through with a little coffee-like bitterness, slightly rough and may benefit from a drop of water

Would I buy it again:

Absolutely, here is a perfect example of what Supermarket Malt Whisky should be all about, despite being seasonal and a relatively limited bottling release, this was purchased expressly for the festive period and performed admirably, in fact outstanding, when compared to much more expensive and exclusive bottles of whisky. This is a little sherry-monster but completely accessible and drinkable. The similarity to M&S Oloroso sherry [reviewed here] was also uncanny, making me wonder about the provenance of the Glenfarclas casks used to produce this whisky…

7 replies »

  1. Thanks Barry. My local M&S has some Glenfarclas 2003 in stock, and this review is exactly what I wanted to encourage me to buy a bottle (I don’t need much encouragement, to be fair).
    I’m not familiar with the normal Glenfraclas 10yo. Is it noticably different do you know?

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    • Hi Sam,
      The M&S 10 year old is a small(ish) batch release and has a lot more sherry influence than you would find on the normal Glenfarclas 10 Year Old. The OB Glenfarclas 10 is slightly more balanced (more toffee, honey and oak/less sherried) for around £28-29 a bottle. This M&S one is more like the 10YO/2003 Whisky store bottling http://www.whiskyshop.com/Shop/Glenfarclas-10-year-old-PID2568.aspx at £40.99 a bottle. So with the M&S bottle you are getting much more sherry bang for the buck than the OB and paying a lot less than at the Whisky Store (at least when it was on offer – I noticed our M&S prices had returned to £35 a bottle after Christmas). Hope this helps!

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      • Jings! £60 a bottle.

        Thanks for the super quick reply and expert knowledge, Barry!

        I like to have a variety of whisky styles at hand but have a limited budget. Should I get this, this month, or a Knockando 12, which I also have my eye on?

        (I currently have an Ardbeg Uigeadail and an Aberlour A’Bunadh in the cupboard which are both quite heavily sherried – along with bottles of Compass Box Spice Tree, Old Pulteney 12, Teeling Small Batch, Green Spot and a Bailie Nicol Jarvie). I’m gutted that I finally finished off my Caol Ila and Talisker earlier this month. I miss them both already 😦

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      • No problems and happy to be of assistance.

        If you have an A’Bunadh you may find the Glenfarclas is in the same vein with heavy sherry influence. The Knockando 12 is so-so, for a good Upper Spey Malt try Cragganmore 12 it is superb and one of my favourites or Balvenie Doublewood both super-drinkable. Alternatives may be Bruichladdich 10 or Bunnahabhain 12 both very subtle well constructed whiskies with little or no peat influence despite being from Islay. All at or around ~£30 a bottle and should add some variety to your collection.

        Let me know what you go for! Cheers.

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  2. Well I went to a new specialist whisky shop, and bought a 12 year old Hive from Wemyss Malts. I went to a tasting with Dominic Roskrow a few months ago and he recommended the 8 year old so I’m happy to give the 12 a go. Butter, honey, cinnamon, soft smoke.

    You’re spot on with the Cragganmore, Balvenie and Bruichladdich suggestions. They’re all whiskies I’ve tasted over the last year or so, and would be delighted to see in my cupboard. With The Hive my collection seems a bit blend-heavy now so that’s something to consider for next month. I had a taste of a few whiskies while I was there (It’s that kind of shop) and if I wasn’t being so fussy about my sherry influence this month I’d have come out with a Benromach 10 year old.

    On the subject of whiskies in M&S, the Meadowhall and Sheffield Centre stores are carrying Elijah Craig 12 yo at £26. This seems very reasonable for a small batch bourbon that’s usually over £40. Curiously, in both stores it was on the same shelf as the liqueurs, away from the other whiskies.

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    • Cool! sounds like you are already well on your way in terms of whisky discovery. If you like the Benromach try and get a taste of the 50% ABV Origins – they are awesome!
      As for the Elijah Craig placing – that is a little strange, it is known for being very sweet but it would make more sense to me to put it with the other whisky! You should be able to pick up a bottle for around the £30 normally.The big supermarkets do get bulk discount and so can bring us ‘”specialist” whisky a little cheaper – as they have done with the Glenfarclas 2003. M&S have a long history of commissioned bottlings that vary slightly but look pretty similar to official bottlings (e.g. Glengoyne 14 at 40% ABV whilst distillery edition was 46%). EJ12 should be 47% ABV if it is the genuine article snap one up!

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