25 years old, what a beautiful age! And it’s not my son who will tell me otherwise, I’m sure of it (happy birthday my son).

In a man's life, ¼ of a century is spring, but in a bottle of whisky it starts to count a little and becomes a respectable age!


Imagine, 25 years ago, while I was suffering on a rolling stool in the delivery room (yes, I suffered too), Scottish master distillers gave birth to a transparent liquid in their spirit safe !


Subsequently, they would slip the distillate into oak barrels for the big sleep so that the wood molecules would melt and mix with those of the alcohol and the magic would happen.


Of course, I have had the opportunity to taste and share with you many distillates under 25 years old, but for me, this age is often a turning point in whisky. The transition to great maturity, the moment when exchanges transform, mutate... (and often prices also tend to soar because of the greed of the angels).

 So of course a 25 year old whisky is not necessarily a whisky that has spent 25 years in the same barrel like the 25 year old GLENFARCLAS that we are going to discover. It can be the result of a blend of different 25 year old barrels, such as THE BALVENIE 25 year old RARE MARRIAGES, or even a blend of different barrels over a period of 25 years like the BOWMORE 25 year old.



But the result is there, and the distillate has in any case spent 25 years in contact with wood and has been marked forever.


I have already had, on numerous occasions, the opportunity to share the fruit of 25 years of work on my site and that is why I decided to complete this “collection” with these 3 “new” distillates .



Before discovering them, let's think back to a trip to Speyside with GLENALLACHIE 25 YEARS assembled by BILLY WALKER born from the blend of bourbon and PX barrels (to discover here) or the BENRIACH 25 YEARS fomented by Dr RACHEL BARRIE with distillates aged in 4 barrels: Bourbon for the mellowness, in new oak barrels for the pep, in Pédro Ximenes barrels for the sweet sweetness, and finally in Portuguese Madeira wine barrels for the spicy dynamism (to discover here).



Let's also return to the North Highand where we discovered THE DALMORE 25 years old fruit of the assembly by RICHARD PATERSON of new American oak barrels, separated to age on one side in Palomino Fino 25 year old sherry barrels and in bourbon barrels, and to finally be reunited to complete their woody journey in Tawny port barrels from Portugal (to discover here). Let's go to the south of this same region at DEWARS with the ABERFELDY 25 YEARS composed by STEPHANIE J. MACLEOD with two 24 year old distillates aged in bourbon barrels or sherry barrels and blended to finish 15 months in Oloroso sherry barrels ( to discover here).


Always in search of discovering honorable distillates, I recently brought you to Northern Ireland with the BUSHMILL 25 YEARS offered by Alex Thomas with a triple distilled distillate and which first spent 4 to 6 years in barrels of Oloroso sherry and in bourbon barrels before being blended to spend no less than 21 years in Rubis Port barrels (to discover here).


Finally, my adventures made us discover the different components of the BIG PEAT 25 YEARS perfectly peated blend composed by FRED LAING from DOUGLAS LAING (to discover here) composed of old wonders from the island of Islay (to discover here).


What great discoveries!



While waiting to find others, I suggest today that we go to SPEYSIDE and the Island of ISLAY.


Today, I therefore invite you to discover the work of three distilleries (brought together in the closed circle of the pioneers and oldest distilleries of Scotland) GLENFARCLAS, THE BALVENIE and BOWMORE.




Let's start in Speyside with a "pure" 25 year old, a reference from the Glenfarclas distillery since the 1980s.


Let’s discover it today in its proven “New Label” version, which has been offered since the mid-2000s.


At GLENFARCLAS, which cannot be introduced since it is one of the oldest distilleries in the region (created in 1780 and in the John Grant family for 22 generations), we never do things in half measures or in large blends. adventurous!





For many years, for successive master blenders and now the CALLUM A FRASER teams, a drop of new-make that comes out of one of the 6 stills of the house must go into a European oak sherry barrel from Jerez!



Also, we will find ourselves here in a textbook case: ¼ of a century spent exchanging with the wood of a barrel of OLOROSO Sherry only in warehouses with scarlet red doors and chosen from the 52,000 barrels that they contain.


Here I can remember (and advise you) the discovery of the distillery which opened its doors to the public since 1973 under the sun (of which you can find all the photos here). Indeed, located in the town of Ballindalloch, the “Valley of Green Grass” distillery (Glenfarclas in Gaelic) benefits from a microclimate which is very beneficial for the aging of these distillates with an angel's share of only 0.05 % per year (compared to between 2 and 2.5% on average elsewhere).



At Glenfarclas, 1/4 century spent in oloroso sherry barrels gives the distillate a beautiful amber color with beautiful golden highlights and a distillate at 43%ABV.


On the nose it initially gives off the fairly recognizable citrus notes of the distillery. A beautiful marmalade enhanced with the peels of the oranges used to make it. It also gives off subtly woody “tanized” notes in the background.


In the second passage we discover the impact of the long passage in sherry barrels with notes a little closer to red fruits but without them being very marked as in a younger sherry whisky. Time seems to have attenuated them, bringing with them light spicy notes.


On the third pass, the sugar emerges in the form of honeyed but also slightly winey notes.



On the palate, it is honey and sugar on the palate with a hint of lemon. Then, it reveals itself with notes of red fruits accompanied by woody notes which brighten up the atmosphere. We will then discover slightly spicy notes without being marked. Over time it becomes pastry-like with buttery notes and a velvety sensation in the mouth. Before swallowing it we will even discover notes of tannins.


The descent is smooth but it then wakes up over a long period of time with malty and chocolate notes on a background of freshness.




If one day you have the chance to pass by DUFFTOWN in Speyside at THE BALVENIE, (as I had the chance to discover in pictures here) you will see the hundreds of barrels stored outside waiting to be pass under the keen eye of Ian McDonald (the head cooper) and in the expert hands of his teams. You will also understand to what extent the barrel has its importance here in the nature of the distillates. Especially when the barrels in question are expected to store liquids for several decades.




It is also thanks to the quality of these barrels that the master blenders of the house (David C. Stewart and Kelsey McKechnie), offered the high-end RARE MARRIAGE range including the 25 year old (which I invite you to discover ) but also a 30 year old and a 40 year old!



Let us remember here that the distillery was created in 1889 by William Grant and that it still belongs to this group. Suffice to say that a certain number of nuggets must be sleeping in the cellars as we were able to discover with the different chapters of DAVID STEWART COMPENDIUM (which contained distillates up to 56 years old).



For the 25th anniversary, they decided to blend ex-bourbon American oak hogshead barrels and ex-sherry European butt oak barrels.


The result is a whisky bottled at 48% ABV which is adorned with marked golden hues.


On the nose it is quite sweet and subtle with a mixture of ripe orchard fruits ready to be picked. We can also discover notes of honey, however we already discover a certain presence of spices.


Moreover, it is notes of ginger which dominate the second passage in the glass and increase in power to turn to peppery notes and come to awaken the mellowness of the first passage.


The third passage will be filled with woody notes without being astringent, yet subtly like the entire nose of this whisky.



On the palate, it’s a real vanilla tarte tatin with a hint of lemon. It fills the mouth and continues its course on cane sugar, candy, chichi while retaining the slight hint of acidity.


A sugar.


Subsequently, the sweet notes are replaced by more woody notes of oak and slightly spicy cinnamon. It stays on these soft notes until the end.


When you swallow it, it is still just as sweet and leaves light woody notes in the throat for a long time, while the mouth retains the sweet feeling of marshmallow.




Let's now move to the island of Islay to the oldest distillery on the island (in place since 1779).


Having experienced it, a week on Islay marks you forever, so imagine 25 years locked in barrels and stored below sea level in the N°1 Vault... (a walk to discover here)



Born 25 years ago in the water of the Laggan River for the one we are going to taste, this reference saw the light of day at the beginning of the 1990s. It was matured for a quarter of a century in North American bourbon barrels and of Spanish sherry which gave it a mahogany color.



On the nose it will be the most intense of the 3 discoveries of the day. It has powerful notes of red fruits and black fruits stewed with sugar. He is hot. We are already discovering spicy notes of pepper.


During the second pass, the spices gain in intensity and the heat becomes a peat fire with plumes of smoke which are no longer hidden.


The third passage remains warm but it will be enhanced by some sweet citrus notes (orange, kumquat) and retains its peaty character.



On the palate it is undeniably dominated by the sweet notes of the sherry cask. It is intense and warm with magnificent notes of red fruits, dried fruits and spices.


Its peaty character will be revealed by slightly more marine and saline notes which soften the spices and enhance the tasting. Nevertheless, it retains its sherry character and is completed at the end by notes of nuts (hazelnut and almond) in which we take pleasure in curling up.


On the way down, it is soft and leaves a long memory of red fruits in the mouth and smoked salt in the throat.



So after this wonderful journey, all that remains is for me to go in search of new distillates born ¼ of a century ago, as the Scottish distilleries abound. And I think there is plenty to do!!