Glenfarclas 40 yo 1958/1998 (52.8%, Signatory Vintage, 10th Anniversary, sherry butt, decanter, 496 bottles) It’s no secret that Signatory Vintage have/had some stupendous old Glenfarclas. This celebratory bottling might fail to prove us all wrong, but you never know… Colour: mahogany. Nose: cancel everything, this is one of the most Demerara-ish whiskies ever. Sure there are pencil shavings and simply newly sawn planks – so yeah there’s some oak – but other than that, this is the most glorious combination of peonies, tamarind, prunes, strawberry jam and blood oranges. And earl grey tea. And Smyrna raisins. And old vintage Port wine. And tapenade. And old muscatel. And sawn mahogany (I’m making that up, never nosed sawn mahogany in my whole life). And thuja wood. And else… With water: old attic or old cellar. Long-forgotten paint, books, clothes, leather, liqueurs, paint thinners, and other carbolic and petroly stuff… As they say, echoes of yesteryears… Mouth (neat): yeah well… It’s old Demerara rum indeed. Burnt wood, liquorice, black olives, dried bananas, waxes and polishes, walnut stain (I imagine, never tried to drink that), bitter chocolate, crème de cassis… What a punchy old spirit! What’s also quite stunning is the way it gets earthier, rootier, almost ‘old Islay’, while remaining very Glenfarclas. In fact, it’s a brute. With water: fir liqueur, menthol cigarettes, liquorice, gentian. What is not to like? Finish: long, a tad gritty and harsh (this old spirit is not dead, at all), perhaps a notch too oaky, but you see we don’t care, and yet, it is a little oaky, but is that important… Comments: a restless fighter that’ll never give up. One of those old whiskies that are constantly trying to come out on top against you, even after a thirty minutes long battle. It’s not a tasting session, it’s a war! SGP:462 - 92 points.