A Glenfarclas Whisky Tasting and Pairing Dinner at Soliare Resort Manila
Priding itself with an impressive and extensive global reach, Glenfarclas, together with Premier Wine & Spirits Manila granted an opportunity for Philippine lovers of single malt scotch whisky to sample and relish the impressively complex yet completely satisfying spirits and expressions Glenfarclas has to offer. Held last 14 December 2015, guests engaged in a delightful Glenfarclas whisky affair with global gastronome at Waterside Restobar, Solaire Resort and Casino wherein patrons were greeted by sophisticated interiors and a classic lounge ambiance, and breathed a distinct Glenfarclas atmosphere.
As led by none other than the Glenfarclas Global Brand Ambassador himself, Ian McWilliam traversed the globe, spread the name of Glenfarclas, and shared his passion for the Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky. With his open and honest demeanor, Mr. McWilliam told the guests the entertaining back catalogue and rich history of Glenfarclas through the years.
A Brief Introduction to Glenfarclas
Six generations of the Glenfarclas Grants have owned and managed the distillery. The malt whisky produced by the family is some of the most well known in the area and world. John Grant was the first generation of owners when he bought the Rechlerich Farm in 1865. Since then their malt whisky has been made in much the same way it has always been made. The unique production process of Glenfarclas is what gives it its taste.
All of the Glenfarclas whiskies have three key ingredients which start with pure spring water that is collected from the nearby Ben Rinnes mountain. Unlike many sources of water today, this mountain spring water is unpolluted and soft with a slightly acidic nature, the ideal traits for making whisky.
The next ingredient is the Malt and the malting process is conducted by persons that are known as maltsters. All of the malted barley that Glenfarclas uses only comes from the area of Scotland and the predominantly from Moray, right near where the whisky is made. Only the best maltsters are chosen for each production.
During the fermentation process yeast is added to start converting the sugars inside the barley. This is the process during which ethanol is formed and carbon dioxide is released. This is one of the aspects that has changed over time. Instead of using pine wash vessels the Glenfarclas now uses stainless steel which is easier to clean but still provides exceptional taste.
The distillation process is detailed and each step is carefully worked until the spirit is ready for casking.
Unlike many other whisky makers the Glenfarclas use both oak casks and sherry casks. The products are both mixed after aging during the bottling process.
Now on to the dinner and whisky pairing…
As brand ambassador Mr. Ian McWilliam took the patrons through an impressive selection of whiskies from the distillery, the guests were treated to an exquisite six-course whisky dinner prepared by Chef Mateo Ragonjan and Head Sommelier Daniel Blais. I’ll try to take you through a little description of each of the different years that we tasted as well as the food pairing specially selected for them. (I apologize for the blurry pics – I’m not a pro food blogger.)
The Glenfarclas 12 Year Old Whisky
After 12 years this whisky takes on a vibrant amber-gold appearance. While full bodied, this whisky is also light. It is a sherried fruit flavor mixed with oak. It also contains hints of peat and sweet sensations to make your mouth water. In 2006 the Glenfarclas was bestowed the title of Best Sherried Whisky in the Single Malt World Cup. It also won gold in the Stockholm Beer and Whisky festival two years in a row.
This year was bottled for both the export and travel markets. It comes in a blue case and sports a traditionalist label with a depiction of the Glenfarclas on it. The bottle shares the same label and is finished off with a fancy silver seal. The bottle carries with it the air of a traditional whisky.
The Glenfarclas 15 Year Old Whisky
With a long lasting yet glorious sherry taste the 15 year old whisky by Glenfarclas is marked with notes of sweet and smoky tastes. It is considered a distinguished whisky and is a Grant family favorite. Malty flavors mix with sherry and peat in a balanced combination. The 2007 Whisky Bible by Jim Murray gave the 15 Year Old Glenfarclas a score of 95/100, one of the highest scored to ever be given.
This whisky was created for the sake of family and is considered to be one of the Glenfarclas’s most complex whiskies. It comes in a red container that is stamped with the Glenfarclas logo. The label on both the bottle and the container is the same as the 12 Year Old Whisky. The bottle however, is green in tone instead of clear.
The Glenfarclas 17 Year Old Whisky
Another rich amber whisky, the 17 year old malt scotch whisky is 43% whisky. It is distinctive because of its butterscotch sent that is mixed with sherry and peat. The taste of this whisky is long lasting and big. As you taste it it develops slowly on your tongue. Despite its age, the old whisky still is smooth.
The Glenfarclas 17 Year Old whisky is contained in an orange bottle holder. The bottle itself is a very dark green with a fancy gold seal. Like with the other two whiskies, the Glenfarclas 17 Year Old whisky has the same label. It was bottled specifically for the North American, Japanese, and travel markets.
With the extensive selection of dishes and impressive whisky pairing, the Glenfarclas spirits and expressions were a joy and a privilege to taste—completely complex yet fairly balanced, full of flavor, and pleases the palate. For whisky enthusiasts and drinkers like me, this notable experience gave us a taste of Speyside’s pride and a chance to drink our way through the history of the Glenfarclas whisky.
Special thank you to Dennis and the rest of the Premier Wines team for inviting my wife and I to this wondrous event.
Also to Mr. Ian McWilliam for taking the time to shed some knowledge and narratives about Glenfarclas. I hope to visit the distillery someday but until then, Glenfarclas whisky will have a special place in my heart (and shelf.)
Til the next one. Slainte!