April – September
|Saturday (July -Sept)||10:00||16:00|
Glenfarclas distillery (pronounced Glen-far-klas) is a Speyside whisky distillery in Ballindalloch, Scotland. Glenfarclas translates as meaning valley of the green grass. The distillery is owned and run by the Grant family. The distillery has six stills which are the largest on Speyside and are heated directly by gas burners.
The distillery has a production capacity of around 3.2 million litres of spirit per year. Normally four stills are used for production with two kept in reserve.
The distillery has approximately 68,000 casks maturing on site, in traditional dunnage warehouses, with stock from every year from 1953 to the current year. Glenfarclas produce a traditional Highland malt with a heavy sherry influence.
The distillery farm ran from the late 1790s until 1988. Like so many of the oldest sites, the farm buildings would have been pressed into service as a site for illicit distillation prior to the 1823 Excise Act. It took a further 13 years for original owner Robert Hay to take out a licence. When Hay died in 1865 his neighbour John Grant bought the distillery for £512. It has remained in his family’s hands ever since.
This continuity has allowed Glenfarclas to still reflect an older way of making whisky, but this willingness to retain tradition is not down to a romantic belief in the past. Glenfarclas is nothing if not a successful business.
As George Grant, sixth generation of the family says: “We have lived through 22 recessions. We make what we can afford to make, and never borrow money to make it.” During the 1980s, as the industry was cutting back on production, Glenfarclas’ was increasing. When an upturn in the market came eventually, it had the stock to sell. A balance between supplying stock for third-party blends and retention of a significant percentage for single malt bottlings has also resulted in Glenfarclas having more significant volumes of aged stocks than most distilleries. An aversion to independent bottlers using the distillery name on their (rare) offerings has also helped maintain a strong brand identity.
The retention of direct fire was done for quality reasons, not to please tourists or malt maniacs. Steam had in fact been tried in 1981, but the conclusion was that the guts went out of the new make spirit, and so direct fire went back in. After all, you need a rich distillate to be able to cope with the tannic structure and rich fruits of ex-Sherry casks.
Today, all the wood is sourced from Jerez cooper Miguel Martin and is a mix of butts and hogsheads, all ex-oloroso and made from European oak. The core range is aged in a mix of first-fill and refill. Tradition doesn’t mean a lack of innovation. Given the depth of stock, the most comprehensive of a single distillery in Scotland, in 2007 the firm released ‘The Family Casks’ – vintage releases from every year between 1952 and 1998. Today, the starting point of the range is 1954, which is no mean achievement.
Glenfarclas also claims to have pioneered the cask-strength bottling, when it launched its 105˚ in 1968, and was one of the first distilleries to open its doors to visitors (in 1973). This, and a long-term belief in single malt (rather than only selling fillings for blends) is now paying off.
In recent years an export-led strategy has seen it expand globally. It now sells in excess of 700,000 bottles annually – and at very keen prices. Glenfarclas, even at 30 years of age, represents some of the best value whisky around. The quality speaks for itself.
Low in honey
Medium in nutty, floral, fruity and spicy
Medium/ High in malty and winey
High in sweetness
At this point Glenfarclas core range is:
The complete collection of 60 years of Glenfaclas bottled and saved in a collection that’s called the Family Cask Edition. The Family cask Edition is a unique collection of vintages that go back to the early 1950. Each vintage was maturated in first fill sherry casks and its rich and complex flavors make you want to collet them all. The prices vary because of the vintages, the older you get the more expensive it will be.
True-out the years the Grant Family made some new batches of the Family Casks vintages. So keep in mind there are different batches out that for the same vintage.
I’ve tried to make a list of all the vintages and complete collection of the family cask and you can fin it by clicking the button below.
A collebatation between Glencarn and Glenfarclas. There are 5 unique limited edition bottles specially made for this collection.
Only a 100 – 180 bottles made depending on the vintage.
Take a tour of the distillery with one of our knowledgeable guides and discover not only the magic of malt whisky production and maturation, but the unique history of our family owned distillery. After your tour, relax with a couple of drams in the splendour of the Ship’s Room and browse in our distillery shop with its large selection of Glenfarclas Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Glenfarclas gifts.
For the Connoisseur Tour, we offer a more in-depth experience. Enjoy a tour of the distillery and warehouses, after which we will introduce you to a selection of four of the Grant family’s favourite expressions of Glenfarclas, including one from the famous Family Cask Collection.
The Five Decades Tour is an exclusive in-depth tour of the distillery followed by a tasting of five whiskies from The Family Cask Collection, with one from each decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. Enjoy exploring our history in your glass. This is a unique experience for the true whisky enthusiast to try some of our rarest and most outstanding bottlings and gain an appreciation for what makes Glenfarclas special.
Places on the Five Decades Tour and Connoisseurs Tour are strictly limited, so advance booking is essential. Please note we can only offer these tours on weekdays.
We strongly recommend that those participating in the Connoisseurs Tour or Five Decades Tour make transport arrangements to avoid the need to drive after the tour.
|Saturday (July -Sept)||10:00||16:00|
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