Farclas 175

By Rob Allanson
Few distilleries can claim to have been around for 175 years. Fewer still have remained in the same family ownership for nearly 150 of those years. And even fewer are still independent, and flourishing, and single-mindedly concentrating on making single malt whisky.

So we should celebrate Glenfarclas for all those rea-sons. It not the most fashion-able of distilleries; it’s not the sexiest and, thankfully you may feel, it’s not wrapped up in ‘positioning statements’, ‘brand architecture’ and ‘consumer touch points’. It does-n’t come in a fancy bottle; the packaging isn’t from an inter-nationally famous designer and it’s not a ‘lifestyle choice’.

So the Grant family, who have owned Glenfarclas since 1865, chose to celebrate the distillery’s 175 years in an under-stated, well-mannered and archetypally Scottish way: with dinner and a ceilidh for employees, a few old friends and valued sup-pliers. Not in a Mayfair restaurant, but in a ware-house emptied and dressed for the purpose. The ware-house, in fact, where 25 years ago many of the same guests, enjoyed the 150th birthday party. That’s tradition. That’s what discerning drinkers celebrate in this well-mannered, vintage Bentley of a whisky.

The good news is that we can join in with the release of two celebratory limited edition bottlings.

Glenfarclas 175 (43% ABV; around £75) is a vatting of casks from six decades dating back to the 1950s. It’s a great introduction to the style, which opens up delightfully with a little drop of water.

Rather harder to find will be one of the 1,296 bottles of the Chairman’s Reserve (46% ABV; £350).

This is a vatting of just four casks, the youngest being 42 years old, and with a combined age of 175 years.