Two Glenfarclas releases from one of our our favourite independent bottlers today.
Dramfool Release #47 - Glenmarvellous 2
The 47th release from Dramfool is 10 year old Glenfarclas that spent 6 years in a Bourbon barrel, before being transferred to a Port barrique for a further 4 years. 178 bottles were released.
Initial notes of red fruits, maraschino cherries, red currants, a little strawberry, red grape juice and a tinge of copper. There’s a herbal, earthiness to the nose too, almost like dried leaves in autumn. Going back we’re getting some cola cubes, a little white pepper, ruby chocolate and a light red wine vinegar giving it balance against the sweeter, fruiter notes. The alcohol is apparent on the nose, perhaps too much so, but there’s so much going on behind that you can push past it.
Fresh cherry juice, strawberry jam, grape must, lime zest, chocolate sauce, light oak spice following into a warming, pleasant finish that lasts for a fair while. The mouthfeel is lovely, it’s oily and coats the whole mouth incredibly well with fresh red fruits. There’s a touch of spice here and the alcohol is fairly strong, but in a similar way to the nose, the flavours overpower the alcohol. We’re also getting a slight salinity as we breathe out after sipping, along with some vanilla and caramel.
Nose (with water)
A nice creamy vanilla sweetness is coming through, and the alcohol has mellowed considerably with the addition of a few drop of water. We’re getting less of the upfront red fruits now, instead we’re finding brown sugar, light caramel, custard, maybe even some French pastries. More balance now but we’d love a few more of those red fruits to push through again.
Palate (with water)
Thankfully the palate retains those cherries and strawberries, whilst picking up a slightly more prominent acidic note of freshly squeezed lime juice. There’s also more dry oak coming through towards the finish, but there’s still a pleasant vanilla sweetness to counterbalance that. Water really helps to tame the alcohol and bring the whole dram into harmony.
Is there such a thing as a “port bomb” as opposed to a “sherry bomb”? If not, I think Bruce at Dramfool may have created it. It’s the sort of additional maturation/finishing that we like to see - a solid 4 years in an active cask transforms the spirit and gives it heaps of additional flavours and aromas that 6 months or a year wouldn’t get close to. Our only criticism is that it is quite hot and alcohol forward initially, but other than that we’re happy we picked up a bottle.
Dramfool Release #48 - Glenmarvellous 3
The 48th release from Dramfool and Spirit of Speyside release is an 11 year old Glenfarclas that spent its life in a Pedro Ximenez hogshead. 269 bottles were released.
Rich treacle, toffee and molasses on our first sniff. The nose is actually quite restrained, we’re finding it seems to be holding back and likely needs some air. There’s a golden syrup aroma here, along with artificial vanilla essence and a dry cinnamon spice. The alcohol feels well integrated and after some air we’re finding caramel sauce, dates and maybe even some caramelised fig in the background.
It’s like drinking an alcoholic version of the caramel sauce you drizzle over ice cream. Lots of vanilla sweetness, nuttiness from the caramel flavour, with a drying oak flavour as it goes into the long, condensed milk-like finish. Going back we’re getting some coffee revels, dark chocolate brownie and baking spices. It’s a real dessert dram but not as sweet as these prior notes would make out, it’s more of a deep, rich, nutty flavour.
Nose (with water)
We’re getting some barley sugars, cocoa nibs, oak resin and a little red apple coming through. We’re still getting those richer aromas from pre-dilution, but they’re muted somewhat. Going back after some more air we’re finding honeycomb and those chocolate foam bananas.
Palate (with water)
The vanilla is coming through more now, we’re getting reminded of a spiced carrot cake with vanilla buttercream on top. It’s retains the creamy mouthfeel, but we find it loses a little bit of length on the finish.. however it was pretty long in the first place so we can’t really complain. Going back we’re getting some toffee apples and almond marzipan.
It’s an intensely flavoured, rich, powerful dram showing what full maturation in good cask can do. We don’t often see full maturation in PX, so this is a quite a treat. It’s not as sweet as you’d expect, it veers more towards a dry, nutty flavour but with some sugars in the background to balance that out. It’s got good alcohol integration and a good length finish, so you can’t really go wrong with picking up a bottle.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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