Glenfarclas 40 Year Old: Why You Should Own A Bottle Of It NOW

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As a collector and drinker of older Scotch whisky expressions, I’m always on the look out for what would be a great bargain price wise for the age. That’s super hard to find as the age of whisky pushes upwards, especially in the 40+ year category. Those in the know will whisper to you, however, of one bottling from a non-pretentious distillery which is a great price for the four decades it laid in cask, not only because it is cheaper but also because it actually tastes really good, too. I’m talking about the Glenfarclas 40 Year Old.

Glenfarclas 40 Year Old first debuted back in mid-2010 during the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival. Part of the distillery’s core offerings, it is a simply presented bottling which appears in a tube much like what you would see with younger whiskies. Again, noting super hyped like you see with other 40 year old expressions. That certainly helps to keep the cost down, forcing the whisky to stand on its own merits for acceptance by drinkers.

Glenfarclas 40 Year Old

And stand on its own merits it certainly has. Over the years it has been a favorite among whisky reviewers. Here’s just a sample of the scores it has pulled since its debut:

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Now obviously there’s not a lot of 40 year old whisky out there to begin with, and it was said by some at the time this bottling debuted it was being put out to market in part because Glenfarclas had a big stock of old barrels sitting around which were losing barrel strength. It was thus, some nearly six years ago, this Scotch came to market at 46% ABV and pricing at, are you ready for this, just under $500 a bottle!

Under $500 for a 40 year old whisky is something almost unheard of in Scotch whisky circles, especially given the fact this was a distillery bottling and not something from an independent bottler. Fast forward to today, and when you look at online retailers you note the average price has climbed as the years have gone by, pricing around $750 on average these days.

While $750 may seem like a lot, consider this much in the same way I wrote about the highly collectible Glenfarclas 50 year old which debuted earlier this year: that is still a damm good bargain compared to other 40 year olds on the market. For example,

  • Glenfiddich 40 Year Old: almost $3,500 on average
  • Dalmore 40 Year Old: almost $4,800 on average
  • The Macallan 40 Year Old: almost $12,900 on average (!)
  • Highland Park 40 Year Old: almost $2,700 on average
  • The Balvenie 40 Year Old: almost $4,400 on average

I could go on, but you get the point: the Glenfarclas 40 Year Old is a good price for such an old Scotch single malt whisky. Should you be considering a bottle of it at this point, but wonder what it might taste like, here are tasting notes from Glenfarclas:

  • Color: Rich dark mysterious Gold
  • Nose: Antique leather, walnuts and chocolate covered raisins.
  • Flavor: A sweet initial taste, orange segments, chocolate. Then a lovely flavour of burnt brown sugar.
  • Finish: The dry finish oozes big tannins and more rich dark cocoa beans. Let the whisky breathe a little or add a drop or two of water to fully open up the dram.
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Sounds pretty good to me, especially when you consider the strong reviews I linked to above. Now, having said all of this, I feel obliged to add one caveat, which is in line with a rumor I heard as well. One of the most recent reviews called out the fact that

rumors are that with the next release of the Glenfarclas 40 year-old, the price point is going to be set much higher.

What exactly much higher means, again in comparison to other distillery bottlings in the same age range, may be relative, but it still could be significant enough. With that being said, if you want a bottle of this one now, here’s the most current places you can buy it.

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Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...