Situated on the Recherlich Farm in the Speyside region of Scotland, Glenfarclas Distillery was founded in 1836 by Robert Hay, a tenant farmer. In 1865, John Grant purchased the distillery from Hay for £511. Grant was a cattle breeder at the time, and was looking for a staging post between his farm in Glenlivet and the commercial market situated in Elgin.
When Grant passed away in 1889, he left the estate to his son George. George died shortly thereafter and his children, also named George and John Grant, took control of the distillery. After saving the distillery from the brinks of bankruptcy, the Grant Brothers modernized and expanded the operations such that in May 1912, a rival distiller wrote "of all the whiskies, malt is king — of all the kings, Glenfarclas reigns supreme."
Today, George S. Grant — the great-great-great grandson of a cattle farmer — represents the sixth generation of Grants that own and manage the Glenfarclas Distillery, one of the last remaining independent distilleries in Scotland.
Glenfarclas Single Malt Scotch Whisky is made from freshly harvested barley, which is steeped in water sourced from the heather-clad slopes of the Ben Rinnes mountain. The crystal-clear spring water, which cascades down the 3,000-foot mountain through peat and granite, is the lifeblood of the Glenfarclas Distillery. After the barley is malted, it is milled and mashed before being fermented using a proprietary strain of cultured distiller's yeast.
The wash — the liquid that remains after fermentation — is then distilled twice through Glenfarclas' copper-pot stills. While most distilleries use steam-powered stills as they are more efficient and preserve the lifespan of the still, Glenfarclas Distillery continues to use traditional direct-heated stills in order to preserve the traditional flavors of the whisky. After distillation, the heads and tails of the distillate (the whisky produced at the beginning and end of the distillation process) are discarded and only about 15% of the distillate — the heart of hearts — is preserved for maturation.
Glenfarclas 40 YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky is matured for a minimum of four decades in used oak casks. As a result, the single malt has an aroma of chewy leather, walnuts and chocolate covered raisins, which gives way to lush notes of cocoa beans, woody tannins, dates and dried figs. The lingering finish, which is never too oaky, has hints of toffee and caramel.
Glenfarclas 40 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky earned a score of 95 points from Whisky Advocate, which also named it the Editor's Choice and called it "a very good value for its age."