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Query: Comparing Glenfarclas and Macallan?

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Query: Comparing Glenfarclas and Macallan?

Postby Frodo » Sat Apr 30, 2005 6:31 am

The LCBO is bringing in 21yr old Glenfarclas (OB) and I'm considering getting one. For C$127, a 21yr old whisky is a really good bargan in our neck of the woods.

My question is this: How different is Glenfarclas from Macallan? I've had the Mac 18 a few times, but never had ANY expression of the 'farclas. Is Mac the closest to it? How different are they from each other, and in what ways?

I would appretiate any info as this will ultimatly inform my decision as to any purchase. I've heard some posters speak highly of 'farclas, but on a $ for unit basis, I don't like Macallan. Should I avoid the 'farclas? Is it only for "sherry monster" enthusiasts?

Frodo
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Postby Admiral » Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:34 am

The standard Glenfarclas releases (i.e. 10, 12, 15, 21, etc) are not sherry monsters. Yes, they are certainly sherried, but I do not believe they are exclusively so. (In other words, I understand there is some bourbon in the vattings, although I couldn't say for certain how much).

For me, the Glenfarclas 15yo most closely resembles the standard Macallan, although if comparing directly, I'd say the Glenfarclas offers just a little more spice.

Needless to say, I think all the Glenfarcli are great bottlings, and I've never been disappointed with any bottlings - which is more than I can say for the odd Macallan.

For a real sherry monster, you need to get a single cask - one that was a great cask to begin with, and one that treasured its contents for at least 15 years or so. The most amazing sherry monsters I've tried were single cask bottlings of Glenfarclas (from a 30yo butt), an 18yo Glen Grant from a hogshead, and a 24yo Macallan from a butt. The sherry was extraordinary, but they were all sensational, stellar drams.


Frodo - my advice, for what its worth, is to first try the 15yo if you can. Not that there's anything wrong with the 21yo, but the extra 6 years in wood has taken a tiny sting out of the fruit. But in truth, buy any Glenfarclas....you won't be disappointed.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby bond » Sat Apr 30, 2005 9:52 am

I have had the Glenfarclas 10 yo and 12 yo but I would plump for the Macallan (of comparable vintage) if I was feeling like a sherried whisky.

Must confess that the Macallan is a trifle inconsistent but it has a fuller finish than the 'farclas 10 and 12.

Slainte
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Postby Frodo » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:17 am

Admiral wrote:Frodo - my advice, for what its worth, is to first try the 15yo if you can. Not that there's anything wrong with the 21yo, but the extra 6 years in wood has taken a tiny sting out of the fruit. But in truth, buy any Glenfarclas....you won't be disappointed.

Cheers,
Admiral


Unfortunatly at the LCBO we only get the 12yr for C$80, or the 105 for about C$90. The price jump to C$130 for the 21yr old (limited offer) makes it unlikely I would try the cheaper ones. Weird pricing, but one I can use to my advatage if I take the plunge...
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Postby Admiral » Sat Apr 30, 2005 1:10 pm

Then plunge away, good sir! :D

If, for some strange reason, you feel the malt was not worth the purchase, keep it aside for the day when I eventually get to North America. In return, I'll keep a wee drop of Glenfarclas 30yo (a sensational private bottling - not the OB) aside for you for when you make it to our shores one day! :)

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Tom » Sat Apr 30, 2005 2:14 pm

Hello Frodo,
Comparing the Glenfarclas range with Macallan is a bit hard to do. The Glenfarclas range is a mixture of bourbon and sherry (second fill and refill) matured spirit married toghether before bottling. Whereas the Macallan is only sherry. The rule of thumb is the older the bottling, the more sherry involved.
Now, personally i wont compare the two, as i find them both significantly different, that is if we are talking sherry Macallan, it has more in common with the Fine Oak, especially the 25Y FO and Glenfarclas are two of a kind.
So, if you were looking for a macallan like taste, then i would say no, not with glenfarclas, but if you want just quality, then deffinatly yes, the 21 is my personal favorite of the range, i rated it 92. it has superb complexity and is much more multylayered then you would think at first, give this one time to open and drink it when you feel comforteble and this one is absolutely fantastic. its nothing like a sherry monster, but then no Glenfarclas is, but instead the sherry brings up a smooth balance and is only there to keep you on your toes. My advice: buy it, its the best one.(ofcourse with no material to compare it with its a bit of a jump in the dark for you)
As for sherry monsters, the Vintage range of glenfarclas is all about first fill sherry, and they shine at that.Often unbalanced because of the dominating sherry taste, but its always a good sherry influence that leaves room for the other characteristics of the malt. Basically it doesnt matter wich one, you cant go wrong with a Glenfarclas.
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Postby hpulley » Sat Apr 30, 2005 2:31 pm

For some reason I really like Glenfarclas but am always underwhelmed by The Macallan.

I have the 15yo and 105 right now. Both are available at the LCBO, Frodo. The 15yo is $100, the 105 about $85. I'm enjoying the 15yo more than the 105, there is just a lot more going on in the nose and palate. The 105 is nice too but its youth and high alcohol content don't work in its favor, IMO. I have many other CS bottlings right now that seem to work better but they're all at least a little older, and are not quite as hot as the 60% 105 -- I will try it with water soon (perhaps tonight).

I too am contemplating the 21yo Glenfarclas but at 43% and probably chill filtered I am worried that as Admiral warns it may just be a mellow version of the 46% 15yo. Or I might be pleasantly surprised! This is the 'old' 21yo; in the UK I believe there is a new 46% 21yo that I would buy in a heartbeat.

Harry
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Apr 30, 2005 4:31 pm

Frodo, IMHO the Glenfarclas is not just for "sherry monster" enthusiasts and I think you will be quite happy with the 21. It has sherry for sure but not to the degree of the Macallan 18, it is a more 'refined' dram.

Let us know what you decide.
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Postby WestVanDave » Sat Apr 30, 2005 5:58 pm

Hi Frodo - I'll jump in with a toned down version of my usual pricing rant (and a couple of comments) - FWIW.

Glenfarclas 15 is a favourite purchase of mine in Alberta - at $60 ~ $66 Cdn. We don't get it here in BC. I haven't found a Macallan to touch that for value, but like Harry I am often underwhelmed by Macallan.

Likewise - the Glenfarclas 21 can be found for $87 Cdn. in Alberta (not available in BC). We have the 'farclas 17 in BC - but at $113 :oops: :cry: I have had one - but when restocking I head for the 21. We do have the 'farlas 25 and 30 in BC - but at $211 and $425 I haven't yet made the plunge.

I'll reserve comment on the subjective topic of taste - but for me the Glenfarclas' are a quality malt, with great balance, multiple layers and a few surprises you can discover without having to fight your way through sherry - well worth accumulating and enjoying - great value. As for Macallan: if I wanted that much sherry I'd move to Spain!!! Now peat on the other hand... :wink:

Cheers, Dave.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Apr 30, 2005 6:55 pm

What excellent commets, they're well thought out and informative. It seems the Glenfarclas has a bit of lead over the Macallan.
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Postby Admiral » Sun May 01, 2005 12:07 am

As an aside, it's interesting to note the company backgrounds of each distillery.

Macallan is part of the Edrington Group (with all the associated baggage), and - if memory serves - is partly Japanese owned.

Glenfarclas is one of the last family affairs - still run & controlled by the Grants.

I can't help but feel that these circumstances greatly affect the esteem in which each distillery is held by some. :wink:

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Lawrence » Sun May 01, 2005 1:30 am

Good comments, Glenfarclas has stuck to their knitting and also have the bonus of being scandal free.......
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Postby hpulley » Sun May 01, 2005 2:19 am

I had some 15yo Glenfarclas this afternoon, good stuff as usual, then just recently some 105. Had it neat at first and it was better than I'd remembered, though still not as complex as the 15yo. Still, I had a bottle of eau du source and I used it. One splash and the nose was a bit more open but still not complex; two splashes and it was more open still yet still not that complex; three splashes finally took the white hot finish off the dram and did open it up more but still not the depth of the 15yo. Good stuff and held up very well to watering not like some other cask strength whiskies which just collapse but it is a 10yo and the extra 5 years in cask added to the other whisky. Does make me interested in the 21yo, 43% or not!

Harry
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Postby Frodo » Wed May 04, 2005 3:25 am

Thanks for the responces all. Still thinking...

So I'm still a little curious. If it doesn't taste like Macallan, then what DOES it taste like? The tasting notes under "whiskies of the world" paint a picture of a "sherry monster". What would you say Glenfarclas is closest to then. If you had to find the closest thing to it, it would be...

Frodo

PS. I used the Macallan comparison because an LCBO product consultant told me a story about how during one Christmas, the store ran out of a lot of scotch. People were asking for Macallan, and he told them the closest thing to it that he had in stock was Glenfarclas.
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Postby Admiral » Wed May 04, 2005 4:08 am

Frodo,

I think Glenfarclas probably most resembles Macallan, so there's your comparison.

I just think someone has exaggerated with the term "sherry monster".

Try a real sherry monster, like Macallan Gran Reserva, or better still, any single cask bottling from a first fill sherry butt or hogshead with at least 18 years in the wood, and you'll know what a sherry monster is.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby MGillespie » Sun May 08, 2005 10:35 pm

Have to admit that I side with the Glenfarclas contingent on this one...I'd jump on the 21YO if the price is right...

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Postby rthomson » Tue May 10, 2005 7:14 am

I've been returning to a local pub just to have the Glenfarclas 21 yo. I need to pick up a bottle. It's not as sherried as Macallan but I find it to be very pleasing all around.

I haven't tried the Glenfarclas 25 yo but it's available for US $115 here. I'm thinking of grabbing a bottle of that as well.

Ron
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Postby Frodo » Wed May 11, 2005 12:32 am

rthomson wrote:I've been returning to a local pub just to have the Glenfarclas 21 yo. I need to pick up a bottle. It's not as sherried as Macallan but I find it to be very pleasing all around.

Ron


It must be quite a bottle to keep you coming back to the pub. What is it about the 'farclas that makes it worth coming back to?

Frodo
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Postby bamber » Wed May 11, 2005 8:33 am

I brought back a bottle of the Glenfarclas 21YO from Edinburgh this weekend. For me it's a perfectly balanced whisky: honey, heather, smoke fruitiness and oak all complementing each other. It's also a powerful whisky, which builds with each dram. I did a head to head with the 15YO last night and for me the the 21YO is the one to go for (especially as it's only £7-8 more expensive than the 15YO here).

Little bit similar to HP 18YO but less bitter and smokey (not knocking HP 18YO - actually prefer it to the Glenfarclas 21YO).
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Postby hpulley » Wed May 11, 2005 11:33 am

Couldn't wait, finished my bottle of 15yo off last night but my 21yo arrives this Saturday so hopefully I can do an "in memory" head to head ;) Here the 21yo is $127 compared to the $100 15yo but I'm looking forward to it.

Harry
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Postby Tyson » Thu May 12, 2005 3:41 am

I find Glenfarclas and Aberlour more similar to each other than to the Macallan. Of the 3, Aberlour is probably my favorite (particular the A'bundah).
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Postby Frodo » Sat May 14, 2005 10:30 am

A heartfelt thank-you to all who posted on this thread :!: . I've decided to break open my piggy bank and go for two :shock: bottles of the Glenfarclas 21 @ C$128 per bottle. I consider this a reflection of the esteem in which I hold this community that I would fork over C$256 of my hard earned dough for something I've never tried.

I'll confirm tomorrow if I was able to get it today (first day going on sale). Unfortunatly it'll be a while before I open them, but it'll be nice when I do!!

Thanks again all!!!
Grateful Frodo
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Postby Tom » Sat May 14, 2005 10:34 am

Tyson wrote:I find Glenfarclas and Aberlour more similar to each other than to the Macallan. Of the 3, Aberlour is probably my favorite (particular the A'bundah).

i tend to agree. Apart from the favorite, Mac gets my vote.
I can also recommend the Dalmore Cigar malt wich IMHO is quite like the Macallan and if you can get it, the 13Y old Chieftains Cigar malt wich actually is a Macallan.
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Postby MGillespie » Sat May 14, 2005 3:18 pm

Glad you trust us, Frodo! I know we trust your opinions, and I hope you enjoy the Glenfarclas in good health!

FWIW, I also share Tom's views on the Dalmore Cigar Malt...it's a very nice dram...

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Postby Frodo » Sun May 15, 2005 6:15 am

Hey folks! I got the two bottles yesterday. Both in nice looking green tubes.

Thanks again for the assistance!

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Postby Leonidych » Sun May 15, 2005 7:30 am

Interesting.

Same as Hpulley and Tom, I have been relatively unimpressed by the Macallan (sherry 18 and 25, 1841 and 1861 replicas) but liked certain Glenfarclas bottlings, like 105 and 15. The reason might be I am not particularly fond of sherry note. However, if it is well-balanced by the rest of the bouquet (spices and malt), as in 105 and Aberlour a-bunadh, I found it quite nice (scoring these at 7.75 and 8.5, respectively). Sherry monsters? Maybe - but tame ones. :wink:

As to Glanfarclas 30 (OB), here's my shock: a wonderful vibrating balance of honeywax and roasted malt in the nose followed by disgusting oily perfumery taste. The ugly sherry monster deserved no more than 7.0. Admiral, what was your impression of it? I hope your sample of private bottling is a big difference.

Now, your notes, guys, on Glenfarclas 21 are so much intruguing that I better start looking for it, too!... :P
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Postby Tom » Wed May 18, 2005 4:50 pm

Leonidych wrote:Interesting.

Same as Hpulley and Tom, I have been relatively unimpressed by the Macallan (sherry 18 and 25, 1841 and 1861 replicas) but liked certain Glenfarclas bottlings, like 105 and 15. I hope your sample of private bottling is a big difference.

You may have misunderstood me im afraid. i do like Macallan and deffinatly the Sherry range. the 25 is actually one of highest rated whiskys i ever had. im no fan of the Replicas however but thats another thread.
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Postby Admiral » Thu May 19, 2005 4:29 am

Leonidych,

I thought the 30yo OB was very syrrupy, and I didn't find it oily or perfumey on the palate. However, the oak was certainly there, and it wasn't too far from being too woody.

It made an interesting comparison with a 30yo single cask sherry butt private bottling I have. I have to say, the private bottling was better than the OB, but it's probably not fair to compare a single cask versus a commercial vatting.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Admiral » Thu May 19, 2005 4:30 am

Leonidych,

I thought the 30yo OB was very syrrupy, and I didn't find it oily or perfumey on the palate. However, the oak was certainly there, and it wasn't too far from being too woody.

It made an interesting comparison with a 30yo single cask sherry butt private bottling I have. I have to say, the private bottling was better than the OB, but it's probably not fair to compare a single cask versus a commercial vatting.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Admiral » Thu May 19, 2005 4:30 am

Leonidych,

I thought the 30yo OB was very syrrupy, and I didn't find it oily or perfumey on the palate. However, the oak was certainly there, and it wasn't too far from being too woody.

It made an interesting comparison with a 30yo single cask sherry butt private bottling I have. I have to say, the private bottling was better than the OB, but it's probably not fair to compare a single cask versus a commercial vatting.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby WestVanDave » Thu May 19, 2005 6:33 am

Hey Admiral - I see now how you got to be a Gold Member... posting the same answer three times like that... :lol: :wink:

Cheers, Dave.
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Postby Admiral » Thu May 19, 2005 2:02 pm

I swear I only clicked "Submit" once! :)

I guess the server felt that my comments were worth reading three times! :wink:

I'll make up for it by only posting a third of my thoughts on each of my next three posts! :D
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Postby bond » Sat May 28, 2005 6:08 am

Last night I tasted the Macallan 12 YO, Glenfarclas 12 YO and the 105.

Must confess I have switched sides.

Would prefer the 'farclas 12 YO over the macallan 12 YO. Much better balance, richer finish without being overwhelmingly sherried.

To err is human, after all.

The 105 on the other hand is a little too muscular and that interferes with the balance. Guess the age of this malt has a bit to do with marketing as it is one of the more inexpensive cask-strength whiskies going around and strength seems to be a selling proposition on this one. This malt could do with some more aging IMHO.

I am given to understand that using metal screw-on caps gives the folks at 'farclas a huge cost save. Both in terms of cost per bottle and productivity per day. So much for private ownership wanting to preserve tradition etc.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat May 28, 2005 6:15 pm

Bond, those are interesting comments, the 105 as I understand it is now a 10 year old and is a much better dram than I remember from 8 years ago, more sherry and better balance. However i am a fan of that style of whisky, the A'bunadh being the other that ranks up there for me.
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Postby kallaskander » Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:02 pm

Hi there,

talking of sherried whiskies. If we do I would like to mention Linkwood in general as a fine example of a whisky that goes well with sherry. If you see one buy it. It is always amazing. The other name I would like to throw into the ring is Dailuanie. In any sherried expression pure nectar. I know this thread is about comparing Glenfarclas and Macallan. But there is nothing wrong with widening ones horizon, isn´t it? I think Glenfarclas wins, by the way.

Greetings
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