It took 15 months of phone calls, e-mails and chance meetings, but finally we got our man. Robert Ransom from Glenfarclas presided over one of the best tastings this club has had, in terms of the range and quality of the malts on offer. Ably assisted by Peter Donnelly from Pol Roger, we sampled our way through a fabulous handful of Glenfarclas single malts, from the standard 10 to an astonishing 1991 from the new Family Cask range – limited bottlings from casks drawn from every year since 1952. Few of us at the night would have remembered 1952 … but you know who you are!
There was an encouraging turn out as well, and the new venue, Abode at the Arthouse Hotel, treated us very well. First up was the 10 at 43%, used liberally by blenders. The 15 at 46% was next and the big jump in quality because of age and the ABV- 46.5% – was very noticeable. An eye-searingly new make at 68% proved too much for some, even with a liberal dash of water. Malt Maniacs’ Best Bang for your Buck in 2004 came next, the Glenfarclas 105 at 60%. It was voted Best in Class by the IWSC in 2005 and at £35 it was a fine dram. Some genuine top quality came next and was a testimony to the proper use of wood. The 21 was simply brilliant, in this humble scribe’s view, and is the Glenfarclas I have in the cupboard at home. It was followed by the 30, from 100% sherry casks and very dark and rich at 43%.The star of the show was undoubtedly the 1991 cask strength, one of only 613 bottles and running to 57.9% The entire Family Cask range comes in at £15,000 for the set, but by the end of the tasting, I thought I saw a few club members checking their credit card limit!
Incidentally this was the first tasting with the new team of myself as chairman and Andy Bell as secretary in charge. I shamefully neglected to pay tribute to the work of our first chairman and founder, Alex Robertson. He saw the desire for a whisky club and got it up and running. I’m glad he’s staying on as a committee member, not least because our next tasting is at the BBC’s new HQ at Pacific Quay, thanks to him.