Glenfarclas 1989

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
The Family Casks (Release W17)
Calculated age
27 years old
Sherry Butt
Number of bottles
52.4 % Vol.
700 ml
Added on
05 Jan 2018 5:47 pm by Schmausel
UncoloredNon-chillfilteredCask StrengthSingle Cask Whisky

Average value

€ 443.90

72 × in wishlist

78 × member ratings

138 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Glenfarclas 1989

20 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 91.43 points

  1. Andreas W. scored this whisky 100 points Expert Senior

    Immediately after pouring a distinctly noticeable aroma of dark old sherry flows out of the glass. I perceive directly dark red cherries. Somehow it reminds me of Mon Cherie in very dark bittersweet (85-90%) chocolate. Next comes an old red wine in my mind. Wanted to give him 30 minutes to breathe, but I could not wait to try, so I took the first sip after 10 minutes in the glass.

    This confirms the perceived in the nose flavors. The 52.4% alcohol is well integrated, does not really burn. Nutmeg and a distinct oak flavor spread directly in the mouth. It follows a "spike" on the tip of the tongue, some pepper also paves the way. Above all, it is clearly noticeable dark chocolate and cocoa to espresso. Shortly before the (very long) finish I still perceive the typical for Glenfarclas nut flavor. It's more like walnut than hazelnut or almonds. Only at the second sip, after about another 15 minutes in the glass, I take in addition to the already mentioned flavors a certain sweetness right in front of the nut flavor true.

    It's a very nice, very well-done combination of spice, dark (not too sweet) fruits, with the cherries dominating for me. Some orange peel is also tangible. Walnuts, some sweetness from roasted almonds, possibly also a trace of marzipan, high-percentage dark chocolate, cocoa and espresso complete this powerful Glenfarclas. He does not even hide his old age (27-28 years) and the first fill sherry keg storage in European oak barrels. He does not have to, because this Glenfarclas with its corners and edges is a real treat. He needs time in the glass, you should give him half an hour to breathe. I'm sure he will open up even more facets with more time to breathe. I did not add water, the well-integrated 52.4% do not make it necessary in my view. Whether by adding one or two drops of water other facets open (possibly more pronounced marzipan or sweeter) I have to try soon. But somehow it struggles to falsify this gem by adding water.

    A first-class, strong and very old Glenfarclas, which already causes a small flavor explosion in the mouth. He is not really comparable to the standard bottlings (18-25 years) or the vintage bottlings (1993/2014, 1996/2017). Rather, it goes in the direction of the "personalities series". For me that's 95 out of 100 points ... and let's see, with a bit more time to breathe, the 97 points are probably within reach. If you want to try a different, extraordinary and quite powerful Glenfarclas, this is the place for you!

    Slainte MhathUpdate dated 18.03.2018:

    After writing down my first impressions of this exceptionally good malt 3 weeks ago, here are a few additions. This Glenfarclas takes time. Not only time to enjoy, but also a lot of time to breathe. Half an hour, better still 45 minutes, you should give it already. You will be rewarded, especially in the taste, with a gain in sweet flavors. The taste impressions originally described by me continue to be found. They are now supplemented by a much earlier onset of sweetness. The roasted almonds are now much clearer to light. Also comes to me as a child at Christmas beloved homemade "Cafe Leihe" marzipan now directly in mind. Then there is still this fruity sweetness in which I can hardly decide whether it reminds more of raisins or overripe cherries ... well, probably both.

    The now intervening interplay of the originally strong and spicy flavors originally described by me with the now much sweeter flavors, make this Glenfarclas a masterpiece. Thus, I increase my original rating from 95 to 98 points. Just the best I've ever had in my glass.

    Update after 1 year: Now that the bottle was getting emptier I had to realize that the increasing oxygen in the bottle got the Malt very well. As a conclusive conclusion I can only agree with the words of Gotthard Betz: what should be done better here? This Glenfarclas is the perfect malt for me and represents a clear reference for me personally. At no point in time, unlike hs305, could I detect any false notes like sulfur. It may be because I always min him. 30 minutes in the glass to breathe, now and then more. This malt needs a lot of time and you should give it to him. At least I was rewarded with the perfect malt. That's why I give him 100 out of 100 points!

  2. Prof_Dr_John scored this whisky 94 points Moderator

    Let's make it short: for me the best whisky of 2018 (so far). An incredibly mature, balanced whisky, in which the sweetness and spiciness are perfectly hamroned and well carried by the alcohol. 94 points from me! Bravo, Glenfarclas!
    • Nose
      Even when pouring into the glass it is clear: this is an amazing malt! Dark sherry sweetness, cherries, dark chocolate, blackberries, raspberries, plum compote, marzipan, orange peel and oak spice ... The alcohol content of 52% is barely noticeable. Everything is very well integrated. After a while in the glass, the sweet notes become even more intense.
    • Taste
      Madness! What a taste experience! The impressions from the nosing continue in the mouth. Nothing burns, the alcohol is very well integrated. The sherry sweetness is in perfect interplay with the spicy notes of the oak barrel.

      After a further 10 minutes in the glass, delicate notes of espresso and marzipan are added, which add to the complex, full-bodied overall impression. The flow of saliva is extremely stimulated and if you rub your tongue along the cheeks, the taste experience feels even more intense.
    • Finish
      Laaaaang finish! Long-lasting, fruity, pleasant, then in harmony with the bitter notes of coffee and dark chocolate. The raspberries and cherries knock again. Everything coordinated wonderfully. Incredible!

  3. hs305 scored this whisky 91 points Connoisseur

    [July, 2018]  Five reviews already and all way beyond 90 points with not a single hint of sulphurous aromas mentioned so I think this is a clear buy.  And this decision turned out to be a rollercoaster ride for both my taste buds and my brain:  I called this a "hide-and-seek Janus-sided" dram after four different tasting sessions.  Still I am somewhat undecided how to score this one (after more than 8 drams explored in detail).  The first dram was terrific and I went for a solid 91 to 92 points score with the only flaw being a minor sulphurous flavour (like sulphured raisins) that was not nice but did not really distract either.  Several hours later (after dinner) the dram was awfully spoiled with heavy sulphur notes (matchbox ignition area, burned fireworks) that resulted in a disgusting scurfy mouthfeel and a blocking of most of the delicious aromas I enjoyed with the first dram.  Next day the same procedure:  The first dram was good (but not as good as the day before) while the second was bad and the third rather average (all this because of different sulphur levels experienced - I did not know that my taste reacts that different to the same sulphurous whisky, just depending on the time of the day and maybe the things I eat or drink before).  Very, very strange!  So what shall I do:  Score this dram high or low or in-between?  I decided to do a final tasting session and, however this turned out, this would be the score - so here it is (see detailed notes below)...

    ...so these are the same impressions as with the first dram I tasted - great!  Nevertheless I warn anybody out there that is allergic to sulphurous whisky that there is a sometimes unpleasant, sometimes even disgusting sulphur characteristic in this release depending on the mood and situation you are in when tasting this dram.  Anyone that is not sensitive to sulphur (or that is a "hell boy" or "hell girl" anyway) will enjoy this whisky very much, most probably...

    PS:  I re-tasted this dram the next day and it stayed with above impressions and score, so hopefully the sulphurous notes have been vanished due to oxidation in an almost empty bottle (after taking some samples).  I cross my fingers they will not come back with the samples...

    [August, 2021] I opened a sample yesternight which was okay (like the review below) and another one tonight which again showed a rather unpleased sulphurous note. So this whisky stays what it was right from the beginning: A "Janus-headed" dram - very, very strange...
    • Nose
      91 91
      The colour is burnt umber and the texture shows small tears with slow legs.  The nose offers a fat old-style sherry profile with all the aromas you hope to find in such releases except that minor sulphurous note that smells like a matchbox ignition area.  Given this bold nose I guess this most probably was one of the last Paxarette improved casks before the ban of the SWA took place later that year (I adore Paxarette improved sherry profiles as long as it is in balance with the other aromas and flavours - and this dram is in balance). 
    • Taste
      90 90
      The taste is truly multi-layered on all these beautiful old-style sherry flavours but these do not kill the characteristics of the fine Glenfarclas distillate (like in other heavily-sherried drams).  The barley sugars are strong and hold their head up in this symphony of sherry-induced flavours.  In later layers the wood enters the stage but it never is too loud or dominates.  Again the sulphur is very shy this time and disguises itself as sulphured raisins, which fits perfectly as an additional flavour (nonetheless I prefer my drams without any sulphur at all - I am not a "hell boy"). 
    • Finish
      92 92
      The whisky arrives warming and coating on the palate with just a minor drying-astringent moment from tannins.  No scurfy sulphurous mouthfeel at the first or second sip this time. The finish is long and adds significant more spices to the party of flavours (peppers, chili, ginger and more) what is delicate.  The sulphur is stronger with a slightly scurfy mouthfeel now but still it is not annoying.  The finish vanishes nicely in several fading waves.  Water turns the dram smoother and releases some more aromas and flavours (dark chocolate) - I like this dram best when reduced to about 46% abv.

  4. StyrianSpirit scored this whisky 94 points Expert Senior

    This 1989er convinces on the whole line. For me equivalent to the 40-year mini, because the oak appears much more elegant and the juicy fruit on the palate and the long-warming finish provides the greatest pleasure.
    • Nose
      After half an hour in the glass, intense oak, marjoram and dark soup spiciness as well as dry sherry. Still very compact and concentrated. After more than 27 years in the sherry butt, the malt does not want to rush in the fresh air ... After another 20 minutes actually dark forest berries are reported, the arrangement is fruity.
    • Taste
      Extremely fine, dark chocolate, elegant-spicy oak, juicy forest berries, Zetschken roaster.
    • Finish
      The conclusion is much milder, but full of chocolate, now slightly lighter (70 instead of 80 percent cocoa), fruit and cinnamon are a bit stronger. A very fine essence! The 52.4% can not be felt in any phase and are wonderfully involved. I notice again how the malt warms the throat.

  5. hs305 scored this whisky 91 points Connoisseur

    [September, 2018] I re-tasted this dram tonight and fully confirm my score of 91 points. It is hard to believe (for me) that I score a (slightly) sulphurous whisky with 90+ points - but I am not a "sulphur taliban" and the taste is what the taste is. Good stuff to enjoy at the end of a tasting session - but do not drink it if you plan to taste other drams after that because the sulphur will block your taste buds for more subtle flavours....

  6. Vince' scored this whisky 92 points Expert Senior

    So I wish an old piglet. Elegant and not sherry overladen with many roasted aromas due to the barrel influence. The alcohol is wonderfully involved. A very delicious Glenfarclas! Compared to the 1990 SP17 Glenfarclas a bit more finesse which for me the 89er W17 emerges victorious.
    • Nose
      93 93
      Dark fruit, spicy and voluminous is the first impression you get when you hold your nose in the glass. Reminds me something good mulled wine with many spices.
      A dark sourish fruit like sour cherry with a slightly earthy / musty background in the background; roasted nuts, speculaas, cinnamon, nutmeg, dark chocolate,
      Lovage, leather associations and rotten with sherry-soaked old wood.
    • Taste
      92 92
      Noble oranges with nutmeg and chocolate (60%) and orange peel with a pinch of carnation in the background. Generally with the fruity sweetness together in the direction of "Mon Chéri" going. Generally a very nicely integrated alcohol. The age is to be noted the piglet. The oak takes over the upper hand on the palate in the second third: Woody wort, coffee, dark chocolate (85%), roasted aromas without end - going in the direction of heavily roasted nuts. Exactly what I expect under an old whisky with proper Sherry influence.
    • Finish
      91 91
      Medium-long to long finish, interestingly enough towards the end leaves a herbal tart, fruity aftertaste on the middle of the tongue.

  7. Chesterfield scored this whisky 100 points Expert Senior

    Again, a whisky of perfection, I do not know what you could do better here! Everything has already been said. One of these exclusive sherry dreams, which one finds very rarely for a price of "only" about 288 euros (as of September 2018) Now in October already 500 euros

  8. Classic scored this whisky 95 points Expert Senior

    A really great whisky!

    Even the nose is very promising and complex. The malt has earned a lot of time and attention, then you can discover a lot.

    Everything fits together perfectly and creates a harmonious experience. So you want a well matured malt from the sherry barrel. The color reveals the very strong influence of sherry, but the character is not covered and completely mastered.

    A real masterpiece!
    • Nose
      Strong full of sherry aromas with ripe cherries, plum jam with a little cinnamon, old wood, dark chocolate, wild berry jam.
      Very nice Schnüffelwhisky.
    • Taste
      Here you will find the Mon Chérie cherries immediately, plus the old wood, the dark chocolate is there, with raspberries and blackberries, a touch of espresso.
    • Finish
      The Mon Chérie cherries with the spicy wood stay for a very long time, the dark chocolate and the espresso come out, raspberries and blackberries light up again and again.

  9. 88plus Bus scored this whisky 95 points Member Senior

    Even when pouring beautiful flavors of sweet sherry and dark fruits spread. Over time, more and more flavors come to light.

    N: Full of sherry aromas with ripe cherries, plum jam with a little cinnamon, old wood, dark chocolate, wild berry jam.

    Very nice Schnüffelwhisky.

    T: Here you can find the Mon Chérie cherries right away, along with the old wood, also the dark chocolate is there, as well as raspberries and blackberries, a touch of espresso.

    Q: Here you will find the Mon Chérie cherries immediately, as well as the old wood, the dark chocolate is there, as well as raspberries and blackberries, a touch of espresso.

    A really great whisky!

    Even the nose is very promising and complex. The malt has earned a lot of time and attention, then you can discover a lot.

    Everything fits together perfectly and creates a harmonious experience. So you want a well matured malt from the sherry barrel. The color reveals the very strong influence of sherry, but the character is not covered and completely mastered.

    A real masterpiece!

  10. StyrianSpirit scored this whisky 94 points Expert Senior

    With a few drops of water, the 1989er tends to be a little more fruity, on the palate, interestingly enough, the spicy notes. The finish remains long, warming, intense. From the Premium Snifter the Malt needs time, but in my opinion not a drop of water.
    Edit: In a later test a few months later (2019), intense sulfur notes appear on my nose, but they are not found again on the palate and in the long finish.
    • Nose
      93 93
    • Taste
      94 94
    • Finish
      95 95


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