On most days, you are forced to wrench yourself from the warmth and joy that is bed, then trundle round doing stuff that you are obligated, by one ruler or another to do. This we call “Norman Life,” so named after the belligerent youth Norman Price, who everyday got up to no good in Pontypandy, much to the frustration of the local fire service.
This routine is broken most weeks, by days we refer to as the weekend. These days usually contain a variety of mundane tasks, punctuated by eating and occasionally drinking.
Once, maybe twice a year, you get up truly ready for the day, somehow knowing that the day set before you is going to be great. These days are what sustain us and make us ready for all the other days.
Friday August 16th 2017 was one of those days.
When we were booking our trip to Speyside, I had two must do things on my list. A visit to Glenfarclas and a trip around Speyside Cooperage. Oddly, they ended up being booked on both days. First up, was a trip along the Spey River from the mouth where we were staying, through and up the hill to Glenfarclas Distillery.
Glenfarclas has a wonderfully traditional, even austere feeling to it. There has been a still on the site since the late 1700’s and official licensed production began in 1835. It was purchased by the Grant Family in 1865, for £511.19s and is still owned independently by the same family. The Grant family seem to have passed down an attention to detail, a keen eye for the future trends of whisky and an ability to maintain a strong sense of what marks out their spirit as one of the best in the world.
Glenfarclas is a beautiful distillery, which nestles in the side of hill, along the banks of a loch that supplies the distillery with its glistening peaty brown water. Every aspect of the tour felt rich with history, whether its the water wheel spinning in the courtyard, as water flows down the hill into the distillery, or the huge industrial grain stores, or the unusual patination of the stills, each tells its own story. Our guide, Steve was friendly and hugely knowledgeable, he mixed elements of the history of the distillery, with easily understandable, but interesting scientific titbits about the process. Because of this depth of interest, each part of the tour felt like a highlight.
Then at the end of the tour, we set down in the almost decadent surroundings of the visitor centre’s “Ship Room” tasting area, which is so called as it is panelled with oak taken from the RMS Empress of Australia, to enjoy some incredible drams. Each dram offering the trademark flavour profiles of a Glenfarclas, but each with its own character and interest. Our party was very split, but my favourite was a 1982 Family Cask dram, which was soft, nutty and full of sherried fruit.
For history, depth, quality of spirit and a fierce independence, we give Glenfarclas 10 out of 10. We think that Glenfarclas is an absolute must visit for any scotch fan.