Glenfarclas is one of the finest distilleries in Speyside. Described by industry icon and Scotch whisky distiller Sir Thomas Dewar as “the king of the whiskies and the whisky of kings”, Glenfarclas has a long and storied history as a remarkable single malt producer.
The distillery, one mile from the River Spey, is situated on a stretch of land that boasts the likes of Macallan, Balvenie, Glenfiddich and Aberlour. The name Glenfarclas comes from the Gaelic for “valley of the green grassland”.
In 1836, Robert Hay was granted a licence to distil whisky at Glenfarclas. Cattle breeder John Grant took over the farm and distillery following Hay’s death and leased it to John Smith who left five years later to build Cragganmore. The site passed between Grant generations until the Glenfarclas-Glenlivet Distillery Company was formed with Pattisons of Leith in the 1890s. This partnership wasn’t to last long and Glenfarclas was fortunate to weather the Pattisons Crash in 1898 that threatened to bring the entire industry down with it. The distillery has firmly remained under the Grant family’s ownership since.
Glenfarclas’s fortunes have oscillated throughout whisky booms and busts. Production has increased, been scaled back, and considerable stock laid down when times were hard. Throughout all this, the Speyside distillery can legitimately lay claim to a series of firsts – it was one of the first single malts to be consistently available when others were concentrating on blends and it was among the first Scottish distilleries to open a visitor centre. Today, Glenfarclas operates the biggest stills in Speyside and its Highland Single Malt accounts for two thirds of the distillery’s annual production – sold in more than 90 markets worldwide.
In 2007, Glenfarclas launched its highly collectable The Family Casks. The series of 43 single cask, vintage single malts spans seven decades and is highly sought after by whisky lovers. For many, Glenfarclas is typified by its Sherry-cask finish. The Grant family maintains strong and long-standing relationships with the world’s finest bodegas. Single malts from the distillery range from 10 to 40 years old.