Situated in the heart of Speyside – malt whisky country – Glenfarclas, translated from the Gaelic as “Glen of the green grassland”, nestles at the foot of the Ben Rinnes mountain.
- The Glenfarclas Distillery Visitor Centre, which opened in 1973, is one of the original distillery visitor centres. In addition to the regular tour, which includes a dram of Glenfarclas 10 years old, in-depth tutored nosing and tastings are offered by prior appointment.
- Glenfarclas is produced by J & G Grant - an independent family firm
- The Spirit of Independence’ represents Glenfarclas’ freedom to be uncompromising in their commitment to the founding principle of producing superior quality Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky.
- Glenfarclas is renowned for its traditional full bodied and well sherried style, and is only ever released at natural colour.
- Only the finest ingredients combined with the unique size and shape of the copper pot stills, traditional distillation methods, the specially selected oak casks and the style and location of the warehouses determine the final unique character of Glenfarclas.
- The Glenfarclas portfolio includes the 10 Years Old, 12 Years Old, 15 Years Old, 21 Years Old, 25 Years Old, 30 Years Old and ‘105’ cask strength.
- Glenfarclas Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky continues to impress the tasting panels at both national and international competitions, year after year. Confirming the words of a great rival distiller in 1912, “of all the whiskies malt is king – of all the kings Glenfarclas reigns supreme.”
- Glenfarclas 15 Years Old, 21 Years Old and 25 Years Old were completely repackaged in 2006.
- Whilst the UK is the core market for Glenfarclas, the Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky is distributed in over 30 markets around the world. Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd, also an independent family owned company, distribute Glenfarclas throughout the UK.
- Exports throughout the world represent 90% of the Glenfarclas sales. Key markets include Germany, France, Spain, USA and Taiwan.
- Glenfarclas has been named Distiller of the Year 2006 by Whisky Magazine. Other recent awards include: Glenfarclas 12 Years Old named Best Sherried Whisky in the 2006 Single Malt World Cup. Glenfarclas 30 years was declared the overall winner of the Australian Malt Whisky Awards in 2004, and the Glenfarclas limited edition 1968 expression was named ‘Best Imported Whisky in the USA’, by the Malt Advocate Magazine, also in 2004.
Glenfarclas History - The Family Spirit
The story of Glenfarclas is as rich and colourful as the whisky that bears its name. It is a story of one Scottish family, the Grants, who since 1865 have been united in creating the Spirit of Independence.
1836 was the year in which Glenfarclas Distillery, on the Recherlich Farm, Ballindalloch, was granted a Government licence to produce whisky. At this time, the licence was held by Robert Hay, who was the tenant farmer. However, after his death the farm and the distillery were left vacant and this attracted the attention of John Grant. The Grant family were prominent local cattle breeders, who were looking for an ideal halfway staging post between their farm in Glenlivet, and the market in nearby Elgin.
In 1865 a tenancy agreement was successfully negotiated for Recherlich and Derrylane Farm. However, as part of the agreement, the distillery was purchased for £511.19sd.
Since farming was the priority, the distillery was let out for five years to John Smith, who later went on to establish Cragganmore distillery. However, during this time, the cattle drovers and workmen certainly enjoyed the sustenance of a dram of Glenfarclas!
In 1889, John Grant died, leaving his son George to run both the farm and the distillery. Sadly, George passed away not long afterwards. Subsequently, the licence for the distillery, was passed on to George’s widow Barbara. She then appointed her two eldest children, John and George, to take care of the business.
In the 1890’s, they formed the Glenfarclas-Glenlivet distillery company, with Pattisons of Leith. They held a 50% interest, but it was to prove to be a troublesome partnership, one which eventually dissolved. This left John and George in a predicament, but they were not disheartened and formed their own company, J.& G. Grant.
After many years of hard work and shrewd accounting, the future of Glenfarclas had been secured, and the Family’s reputation firmly established. A rival distiller, wrote to the Grant family in May, 1912: “of all the whiskies, malt is king, of all the kings, Glenfarclas reigns supreme”, a sentiment the family still hold close to their hearts. The 1920’s saw the retirement of John Grant, and George continued to run the distillery.
So on to 1948, which is remembered as the ‘year of the party’; a social milestone for the Grant family that celebrated several anniversaries, even though the date did not coincide with any of them! At this time it was mistakenly believed that the distillery was first established in 1845, and once the war was over, George saw fit to hold a centenary celebration. Both his sons, John and George, had missed their 21st birthday celebrations, due to their wartime service, and George himself, had not been able to celebrate his own silver wedding anniversary. To mark this historic event, a photograph signed by all those who attended, still hangs in the Glenfarclas board room.
Unfortunately, George Grant passed away a few months later, leaving his widow and his two sons to carry on the name of Glenfarclas. William Strathdee, the distillery manager, was appointed a director, and under the guidance of John and George, the distillery continued to thrive.
1952 saw the reform of the 1880’s Spirits Act, which had hindered the production of whisky for years, as it had forbidden companies to mash and distill at the same time. It also prohibited the staff from working on a Sunday, so production had always been limited. Once this no longer applied, production doubled overnight.
However, after all the success of the 1950’s, the family suffered a great loss when John, at the age of thirty-five, suddenly died. This left his elder brother George S. Grant in charge, who served as Chairman of Glenfarclas for a remarkable 52 years.
His son John L.S. Grant, joined Glenfarclas in 1973, and succeeded his father as Chairman in 2002. He also has a son, George, who represents the sixth generation of the Grant family and is the firm’s Brand Ambassador.
Now 200 years since the birth of John Grant, his descendants continue to act as custodians of the Glenfarclas Distillery, and remain committed to the principle of producing superior quality Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky. Whilst you may not find Glenfarclas in every supermarket, the Distillery’s reputation is well regarded around the world. In March 2006 Glenfarclas was named Distiller of the Year by Whisky Magazine “for being consistently good and staying true to its core values”.
Character and Style of Glenfarclas
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