The ultra-refined nose of the Glenfarclas 21 opens with butterscotched hazelnuts, persimmons, and ruby grapefruit. It’s mammals evolved to have four-chambered hearts, multiple stomachs, large brains, and a contemplative sense of meadows. There’s even more fruit, subtle and soft, hiding in the larger, showier fruit, like Ewoks peeking out of the trees on the forest moon of Endor. (Yes, I went there: an Ewok reference.) Candied apples and clove-studded citric fruit awarded the silver medal at an autumn state fair. Even more: It’s unprismed white light, awaiting optical intervention to show the continuum, much like Stephen’s sense of self in his most recent past-life was a continuum dictated and refracted by nightly forays to the cabarets of 1930’s era Berlin.
The mouth is a savory chameleon on the move through the fronds and ponds of a friendly primeval forest. Anise, candy canes inflected by the buffed leather and polished legs of an ottoman (decidedly not an Ottoman!), and the tingle of mint without the flavor of mint.
The finish is bright and round, a bugle note played through a conch shell on an airport’s moving sidewalk by a deranged sky marshal recently returned from New Guinea who’s suffering through the early onset stage of BSE. It’s somehow melodic and delicate, non-explosive but persistent, ambient and not unpleasant: It’s like a vacation in which you are snorkeling and see many seacows, dugongs, and manatees. It’s a marvelous adventure, a unique sight, a tale to tell, and only crusty old tars are likely to believe you. Just simply beautifully balanced.
The Glenfarclas 21 is a street performer calmly and cooly juggling torches–It’s got the fire, the twirls, the dazzlement, and the balance. What more, really, would you want?