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Issue 69 - Down the years

Whisky Magazine Issue 69
January 2008


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Down the years

In an epic tasting we tackle the entire family cask range, Rob Allanson reports.

It was an ambitious undertaking, both for the distillery and Whisky Magazine.

Family owned Glenfarclas Distillery launched The Family Casks, an exclusive collection of 43 vintage dated single cask Highland malts.

The series is unique, there is no other known collection of old and rare whiskies that covers 43 consecutive years from the same distillery – there is a reason why Glenfarclas was named Distiller of the Year in 2006 by Whisky Magazine.

The company is in the enviable position, with more than 52000 casks currently maturing in its traditional dunnage warehouses, of having stock in cask from every year from 1952 to the current day.

The Family Casks is a collection of the best single casks from the distillery's warehouses, bottled at cask strength and at natural colour, one for each year from 1952 to 1994.

So, ensconced in a back room of La Bodeguita del Medio, a Cuban bar in London, Dave Broom and I laid out the 43 sample bottles sent from the distillery and set to work.

Believe me when I say it was quite a task, admittedly a very enviable task and the range really shows off the distillery through the past four decades, the good times and the not quite so good times.

After the tasting Dave pointed out that through the 60s and 70s everything was big bold sherry notes, and the colours were predominantly glorious dark copper, but when we hit the very late 70s and early 80s something happened.

This was the squeeze point for many distilleries and a time when some we...

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