The new Highland single malt Scotch whisky marks the 50th anniversary of chairman and family member, John Grant
This week, we were thrilled to announce the release of a limited-edition 50-year-old Highland single malt Scotch whisky, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of family member and chairman, John Grant first starting in the industry. The exciting new launch comes mere days after being named ‘Scottish Distiller of the Year 2023’ at the Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Dinner.
The oldest family-owned distillery in Speyside, John is the fifth generation of the Grant family to take the helm at Glenfarclas. The foresight of his ancestors has allowed the distillery, under John’s guidance, to produce and bottle a number of rare single malts spanning seven decades, including this latest release.
A stunning copper in colour, reminiscent of the magnificent stills at the distillery, Glenfarclas 50-Year-Old has been bottled at 50% ABV and tells the story of the distillery through its aroma and flavours. Selected for bottling by Distillery Manager, Callum Fraser, and Managing Director, Douglas Belford, the whisky demonstrates the skill of the distillery team 50 years ago, lead at the time by then Distillery Manager, Douglas MacDonald.
Laid down during the tenure of John’s father, George Grant, the malt offers marzipan, almond and cedar wood on the nose, with a sweet and smoky hint giving way to stewed apples and dark chocolate.
On the palate, the rich velvety dark chocolate notes lead to flavours of treacle toffee, mixed peel and a slightly smoky, sweet taste, surprisingly mellow for a single malt of this age. The flavours coat the mouth and provide a gentle, smooth finish which lingers for a long time.
By adding water, the whisky evolves further, creating more of a lightly peated aroma on the nose and a sweeter, woodier taste on the palate.
Callum Fraser, Distillery Manager, said: “Creating products like Glenfarclas 50-Year-Old is the reason I come to work. Producing something so special, which has such an incredible story behind it, is tribute to the passion that runs through everything we do at Glenfarclas.
“This new whisky is testament to the craftsmen who made the spirit and laid it down in the late 1960s and the foresight of the Grant family so many years ago. It showcases their skill and dedication to producing the highest quality Highland single malt, including the care and experience that goes into the time-honoured handcrafted tradition of whisky making, which is so important to us at Glenfarclas.
“To me, this dram is exquisite. It has an incredible depth of character and showcases every element of the whisky making process – from the earthy smell of the dunnage warehouse through to the light, natural smokiness of the Speyside peat that was used back then and the unique taste of the water we use in our production process. A whisky that evolves over time, both on the nose and on the palate, is truly exciting as it’s ever changing and developing. I hope the distillery manager in 50 years time is as impressed as I am by the quality of the spirit we are laying down for the future, today.”
After joining the industry in 1972, John took up post at Glenfarclas in 1974 where he spent time learning various areas of the business then developing the international sales markets, before becoming Managing Director in 1979 and Chairman in 2002. Over the last 50 years John has played an important role in the wider whisky industry, something which was recognised in 1997 when he became a Keeper of the Quaich, before being inducted into Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2021.
John Grant, Chairman and family member, added: “At Glenfarclas, we’re proud to be able to bottle rare, limited-edition, single malt whiskies to complement our exquisite range of spirits which are fundamental to our brand and story. This release is particularly special as it commemorates the 50 years I have worked in the industry, with the liquid in the cask evolving along with the industry during that time. I’m proud of everything we’ve achieved together as a distillery team over the last 50 years and look forward to releasing even more exquisite drams together in the future as Glenfarclas continues to evolve.”
836 bottles of Glenfarclas 50-Year-Old, encased in an engraved Glencairn bottle and nestled within a beautiful presentation box, will be available to purchase worldwide via our distributors over the coming weeks and months.
Glenfarclas celebrates 185 years!
One of the most common questions whisky fans ask is “How long has Glenfarclas been around for?”
The answer is – we genuinely don’t know. We have a painting showing whisky production from 1791, but there is no evidence of a licensed distillery here at that time – and it’s clear from the painting that they had already been producing uisge beatha for some time.
That being said, you can’t really celebrate an inexact date, so we choose instead to mark the first official licence that the distillery was awarded, and this happened in May 1836. Although some would argue we shouldn’t be celebrating when our whisky was first taxed!
To mark the occasion, Callum Fraser (Distillery Manager) and Douglas Belford (Managing Director) were given the enviable task of going out in to the warehouses to hunt for casks from across the decades that they felt best represented our 185 year history. This was a long process, but after almost 2 years of adding a few casks at a time, they are more than delighted with the final result. This well layered dram with a phenomenal finish showcases the true Glenfarclas character. It was bottled at 46% and will be available soon from specialist whisky shops via our network of international distributors.
Here at Glenfarclas our number one priority is the safety and welfare of our first class team which is why the decision was taken to follow government advice and close the distillery until further notice. Stay safe everyone, and in the meantime have a dram!
Icons of Whisky Scotland Winner 2020
Over the last decade, Glenfarclas has experienced some of the busiest periods of production since legal distilling began at the distillery some 180 years ago. Record-breaking production levels have been expertly overseen by our fantastic production team, who were also paramount to the successful introduction of upgrades to the still house in summer 2019. As John Grant said at the Christmas party, “I couldn’t work it!” However the Grant family has complete faith every valued member of their highly experienced team. It seems fitting for this record breaking production decade to be rounded off with Callum Fraser being named the Icons of Whisky Scottish Distillery Manager of the Year, an award he dedicated to the whole team – without them, none of these incredible achievements would have been possible.
Over the last 10 years the accolades didn’t stop at production. As our popularity grew, record levels of Glenfarclas Single Malt Scotch Whisky were exported to 90 different countries all around the world. Our thanks go to everyone who makes this possible: from the office team who handle the export and logistics so our whisky gets to you, our loyal whisky aficionados; to the faithful warehouse team who work tirelessly to ensure an ever higher numbers of casks are sleeping peacefully in our traditional dunnage warehouses; not forgetting the visitor centre team (past and present) who every year welcome record numbers of visitors. To end the 2010s as the Icons of Whisky Scottish Distillery of the Year was a fitting conclusion to what has been a remarkable 10 years of change, growth and teamwork.