Sunday, March 31, 2013

SMWS-Japan 20th Anniversary Bottling: 1.167 (1986 Glenfarclas) Review

Post by Stefan of Tokyo Whisky Hub
Tomorrow, the first SMWS-Japan 20th Anniversary bottling goes on sale. (For more info, check this post.) It’s a 1986 Glenfarclas (25yo) drawn from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. Bourbon wood is a bit of an unusual habitat for Glenfarclas. Cadenhead put out a few over the years, but you won’t find too many other exponents of ex-Bourbon Glenfarclas. Now, Japan gets a whole cask (218 bottles) – what a thrill!

When you first approach this 1.167 (its official name!), you get pencil shavings, shredded paper and sawdust thrown in your face. What can I say? It needs time in the glass. The best thing to do is to pour it and then leave it for a quarter of an hour. When you get back to it, it will have transformed itself – or as I like to think: have revealed itself – completely: tropical fruits (dried apple mango, passionfruit, guava), baked goods (lemon cake, far Breton), dessert flavours (Poire belle Hélène) and a hint of ginger. A drop of water definitely helps the nose along! In the mouth, it’s both more sweet and a more sour, which is a great combo in my book. You get vanilla, frangipane, grapefruit sorbet, apple cider, lime candy and lovely wood spices. The finish is medium-long with leafy notes coming through, but also chocolate and rum-raisin butter. As it fades, you may also pick up faint hints of wood smoke and burnt hay.

The people at the SWMS-Japan have a knack for picking malts that demand a bit of time and need undivided attention. No rushing here. No quick fixes. This one is like that, too. But if you’re willing to approach the whisky with respect and by waiting, the rewards are immense.

(This bottling is only available to members of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society based in Japan.)

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