I’ll be honest with you, nieces and nephews, your Uncle Knucklehead was just flat out exhausted over all this political turmoil over the last year and just had to take some time off. I mean with all the emails and hot mics on buses, genital grabbing and pants suits and October surprises, your Uncle hadn’t felt that rattled since he had the DTs back in the ‘80s after 3 weeks in Tijuana with a friend named Choyo and his 2 dogs.
During that time, though, I did find out that Scotch is having a hard time out there. Scotch, my first love and still to me the greatest of all spirits, seems to be on a downswing among a certain “demographic cohort” that prefers skinny jeans, manbuns and Warby Parker
eyewear. The other revelation is that the idea of whiskey has been taken over by the trolls who are on a zombie-like search for the most expensive and most rare whiskies in the world on auction sites, bars and retail shops.
They wouldn’t know a good whiskey if it pulled its arm of its socket and smacked them up-side the head with it.
That’s why it’s such a pleasure to introduce you to Glenfarclas 12yr Single Malt Scotch and its made-in-heaven pairing, the CAO America Landmark. For true Scotch whisky lovers, the Glenfarclas is a gold standard, little known because of its rarity as being one of the few distilleries that’s privately owned by a Scottish family, the Grants, for six generations.
The distinction of this rich and mouth filling dram is its adherence to traditional maturation for the Speyside area: 100% ex-Oloroso sherry barrels. They are only one of a small handful of distilleries that haven’t given over to the less expensive but more ubiquitous ex-bourbon barrels that make up almost 95% of all aging Scotch whisky stocks.
And as a result, the delivery of its promise starts in the nose, light but distinctively sherried, a touch of grassiness, with malty stone fruits of plum and dates. At 12 years in the mild Scottish climate, this whisky becomes the greatest sum of its parts starting with clear, granite-sprung water from the Ben Rinnes moutaintops. Then, another throwback: direct-fired stills, where the heat of the flame licks at the copper bottoms of the pot stills setting the wash to boil, creating what the Grant family know is a risky yet unimpeachable hereditary line to their founding in 1865.
The palate gives up the fullness of the hand-picked casks from Jerez, Spain: big integrated flavors of figs, warm bread, a slight touch of earthy peat; and a finish that’s a long drip of honeyed wood, dates again and that distinctive dark berry fruitiness of sherry.
It’s gentlemanly without being elitist which is why the CAO America Landmark is such a wonderful companion starting with its pinstriped wrapper. I’m usually a little skeptical of a double wrapped pinstripe, but using Connecticut shade and Connecticut Maduro, this is a solid, veinless, elegant outer layer. It has a creamy mouthfeel when I light, a soft and silky beginning lending to a consistent burn throughout.
The large ring size matched with the suppleness of the stick creates an easy mouthful with every draw. It’s blended with premium long filler Ligero tobaccos from Nicaragua, Italy, US, and DR, so I’m drawing a rich amount of complexity that matches the Glenfarclas in the glass. It’s a full strength, toro, 6x60 from Nicaragua and the baritone, top-leaf ligero bring more intense flavors.
Your Uncle’s back, he’s turning off the TV and spending more time with these two.