Glenfarclas: The age of glamour
At nearly £20,000 a bottle, the prestigious new release from Scotch distiller Glenfarclas is sure to tempt affluent customers who want to treat themselves.
Navigating A year without tradition, order and ceremony is not easy for a master of quintessential British brand values such as Scotch distiller Glenfarclas. Nevertheless, whisky brand, distributed by Pol Roger Portfolio, is preparing to launch the oldest spirit it has ever produced this month in the age of coronavirus, and the team are confident it will deliver a seasonal sales boost.
Sales director George Grant says the whisky, which is a first-fill oloroso Sherry hogshead that was distilled on 2 June 1959, was selected for this release because of its “flavour profile, ABV and sacristy”.
The whisky will retail at a handsome £19,500 per 70cl bottle when it goes on sale at select UK retailers, and oozes glamour. There are just 105 bottles of the rare liquid on the market, all of which are made by hand-blown glassware expert Glencairn Crystal, and the gift boxes are produced by NEJ Stevenson, along with a bespoke booklet explaining the Glenfarclas 60 Year Old story.
It is a whisky that commands respect, but customers need to know first-hand how the casks impart the classic rich and spicy Glenfarclas flavours, vibrant with lots of dried fruits, demerara sugar and spice on the nose, as well as rich, oaky tannins on the palate, before they commit to such an investment. It was originally slated to launch at the Whisky Exchange Show in London this month, but, sadly, this was unable to go ahead because of the government’s current rules on gatherings, so with something this prestigious it was up to the Glenfarclas team to “get creative” in order to find a way to let customers experience the product before purchasing it.
This year, Glenfarclas’ luxurious pre Christmas whisky launch will be celebrated in an exclusive Zoom tasting with Grant, production manager Callum Fraser and Pol Roger Portfolio director Peter Donnelly. It will be live-streamed from Warehouse 1 at the Glenfarclas Distillery. Naturally, the distillery has no plans for in-person events at this time.
Fortunately for the distillery, very expensive whiskies are something of a cult favourite for the locked-down affluent consumer. Scotch whisky investing is booming right now, with returns far outpacing more conventional assets. A report by broker Rare Whisky 101 found that the fast-growing market was a better place to invest than goldIt is a whisky that commands respect, but customers need to know first-hand how the casks impart the classic rich and spicy Glenfarclas flavours over the past five years.
The market for rare whisky grew from £40 million in 2018 to a record £57.7m in 2019, while the average price of a rare bottle rose from £377 to £401. The index has made 182% over the past five years, beating returns on gold, which is up by 28.2%, oil (15.9%) and the FTSE 100 index of Britain’s largest stocks (14.9pc). At the start of lockdown, Grant told db that Glenfarclas was already benefiting from a surge in interest in rare whiskies, since people had “more time on their hands and are probably not going to get a holiday this year. They think ‘bugger that, I will spend that much’”.
And it’s a trend the distillery continues to benefit from, as Grant confirms that “particularly in the United Kingdom, we continue to meet the expectations of these whisky consumers”.