A Fine Christmas Malt 2018

A Fine Christmas Malt 2018 17 Years Old (58.7%, The Whisky Exchange, 1800 Bottles, 2018)

  • Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Glenfarclas Distillery
  • Bottling: The Whisky Exchange
  • ABV: 58.7%
  • Cost: £74.95

Christmas Malt

What they say

For the nights before Christmas,
when snug in your house,
Or, carefully wrapped,
‘neath the tree for your spouse.
A Christmas Malt
that’s been selected with care,
From a Speyside distillery,
though we can’t tell you where.

The Whisky Exchange has selected a special Christmas single malt for 2018 that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s the perfect winter dram, full of festive sherry-cask flavour – just the thing for enjoying with family and friends this Christmas.

Official tasting notes

  • Nose: As a great man once said: “It’s Christmaaas!” – that pretty much describes this. It starts with a Christmas stocking of flavour, with caramels and toffees at the top, a bag of chocolate raisins in the middle, and apples and oranges by the time you’ve dug down to the heel. That’s followed by dessert and digestifs: redcurrant jelly is cleared away ready for Christmas pudding and all the accoutrements. Rich and raisiny, with brandy butter and a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg. There’s a glass of port for afters, with buttery mince pies and maybe a slice of left-over pud, cold and sticky. After all of that, there’s a hint of damp leaves and earth – did someone knock the Christmas tree over again?
  • Palate: Thick, rounded and rich. Buttery spice and plump, sugary dried fruit kick things off, with a fruit bowl of apples and oranges as a nod to healthiness and balance. Christmas pudding settles down to be rich Christmas cake, with chewy fruit and nuts – prettily-arranged Dundee cake almonds, freshly cracked walnuts, dates and stewed plums. Someone’s slipped some Florentines onto the plate: glacé cherries, syrupy nuts and crisp chocolate. Savoury notes hide under the cake stand, with toasted oak, singed raisins and a touch of bitter char.
  • Finish: Sticky cherries and raisins burst across the palate, slowly fading to leave festive spice, and a hint of holly-wreath leafiness and Christmas-tree pine.

What I say

Thanks to The Whisky Exchange for the sample

This 17 Year Old Speyside single malt has been healthily matured in ex-sherry casks – something of a signature for this unnamed Family-owned distillery.

Bottled by The Whisky Exchange at 58.7% ABV and producing 1800 bottles.

My tasting notes

  • Appearance: Bright ruby amber (11/20), numerous fine tears and fine legs.
  • Nose: Fruity, dry and sherried, dried fruits a little leathery tannins, orange, apple, pear, some spices too, cinnamon, then buttery toffee, over-buttered crushed digestive biscuit (cheesecake base), a little damp wood and slightly sappy pine.
  • Taste: Thick and oily on the palate, a touch of wood smoke and cask char precedes a little cinnamon-spiced raisins, plum pudding, slightly astringent and sappy wood, including fresh pine and spruce as well as oak, molasses, dates, a little well-fired brown toast, with a dollop of plum jam, a little cocoa-dusted roasted mixed nuts.
  • Finish: Long, glacé cherries, sticky and sweet before spice and tannins.


A lovely sherried Christmas dram, a little spicy and sappy/pine wood actually keeps this refreshing. There is plenty of sticky syrupy sweet and buttery oils in here but well-balanced against wood influences. Perhaps not the most redolent of Christmas for me, this sherried dram is very drinkable and certainly got me in the mood for Christmas at the very least. A great selection by The Whisky Exchange at a very reasonable price.

Score: 85/100

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