Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength (Scottish Cask Strength Speyside Single Malt: No Age Statement: 60% ABV)

Visual: Slight reddened amber, quite darkened in colour.

Viscosity: Quite fast but thin streaks mixed with middling speed puckering.

Nose:  Toffee, pungent passion fruit. Evident alcohol and pencil shavings. Slight tangerine and golden syrup. Water brings out grain, over ripe banana and more toffee.

Body:  Honey, burning alcohol and apricots. Water brings out huge sweetness with golden syrup, vanilla, and now dried apricots. Touch of mocha and a banana.

Finish: Milk chocolate, light charring and lots of alcohol. Milky coffee, marzipan. Water really brings out the chocolate and dried apricots, with some banana revealing itself. Still tongue numbing levels of alcohol.

Conclusion: This is whisky with a punch and a proud pedigree. Powerful and fruity in the raw, it becomes sweet smooth and stylish but with still a cheeky hint of fruit when water is added. Classy yet cheeky.

Lots of range to play with, the abv and style means that you can get a lot of variance by adding in just as much water as you would prefer. There are a lot of delicate flavours that expose themselves as the alcohol presence is whittled away.

This really balances perfectly the power of a cask strength with the grace of a good quality whisky.

Very good indeed, and a sign of how to do a cask strength with class.

Background: I am eternally bemused by why Glenfarclas lists itself as a highland whisky when it is right in the middle of the speyside area. Maybe I’m missing something.  Anyway Glenfarclas has a big rep, with one bottling listed it as “Speysides favourite whisky”, and the cask strength has been recommended to me several times before.