17 September 2007
Glenfarclas launches The Family Casks
– A unique collection of 43 Single Cask whiskies, with one for each year from 1952 to 1994
Family owned Glenfarclas Distillery formally launched The Family Casks, an exclusive collection of 43 vintage dated Single Cask Highland Malt Scotch Whiskies, at the Caledonian Club, London, on the 13th September 2007.
The Glenfarclas Distillery, with over 52000 casks currently maturing in its traditional dunnage warehouses, is in the enviable position 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. The collection comprises 43 different bottlings, with one for each year from 1952 to 1994. The Family Casks are unique there is no other known collection of old and rare whiskies that covers 43 consecutive years from the same distillery.
Glenfarclas is renowned for producing Single Malt in a traditional Speyside style with a heavy sherry influence. Sherry casks are well represented within the collection. As John L.S. Grant, Chairman and 5th generation of the family that own and manage Glenfarclas, explained, ‘Good wood is vital in maturation, and the resulting richness and sweetness from sherry casks is delightful’.
Unlike mainstream bottlings, which are normally offered at a reduced strength of 40% vol., The Family Casks have been bottled at cask strength. During maturation the strength of the whisky reduces slowly, thanks to ‘the angel’s share’. Cask strength is the natural strength after maturation, hence each bottle in the collection is presented at a different strength, varying from 46.0% vol. for Cask 4913 from 1961 to 65.1% vol. for Cask 1316 from 1968. Glenfarclas was the first to market a cask strength whisky, with the Glenfarclas ‘105’ at 60% vol. in 1968.
The Family Casks have also been bottled at natural colour, with the bespoke clear flint bottle, and oak gift box, designed to highlight the variety of colours within the collection. Accompanying each
bottle is a booklet with a history of the distillery, written by John L.S. Grant, and tasting notes prepared by George S. Grant, Brand Ambassador, and the 6th generation of the family.
At the remarkable tasting guests were first introduced, by John L.S. Grant, to a selection from the range, with one dram from each of the five decades represented. As Mr Grant explained ‘By tasting a selection of whiskies from The Family Casks, one is able to explore not only the differences between the casks, but the distillery, and my family’s history’. After the formal tasting guests were invited to sample a selection of the other 38 whiskies from the collection. Not surprisingly, many of those younger than 56 chose to sample Glenfarclas distilled during the year of their birth. As Robert Ransom, Director of Sales & Marketing, observed, ‘If you know anyone who was born, or married, in the last 55 years, a bottle from The Family Casks collection makes an ideal present for them!’.
Glenfarclas, which was named Distiller of the Year in 2006 by Whisky Magazine, focus on Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, with a core range which includes the 10 Years Old, 15 Years Old, 21 Years Old, 25 Years Old, 30 Years Old and the ‘105’ Cask strength. The Family Casks is the first new release of Glenfarclas in the UK, since the 50 Years Old in 2005. As George S. Grant commented, ‘To launch 43 single casks at once must be a first. It has been a big project for us, and almost everybody in the company has been involved with this release. We have however had a lot of fun, looking through our warehouses to select a cask from each year for The Family Casks was particularly enjoyable’.
The Family Casks have been offered to Glenfarclas’ network of distributors across Europe, Asia and Canada, including sole UK distributor Pol Roger Ltd (see contact details below). Interest in the collection has been intense, with two bars quick to order a complete set of 43 bottles; Bar Nemo in Tokyo, and closer to home, The Mash Tun in Aberlour. Prices for The Family Casks vary from £80 for the 1994 to £1145 for the 1952 at the distillery’s visitor centre.