The Dram Initiative #008 – Glenfarclas With George Grant
January 23rd, 2014
In what has arguably been the club’s biggest coup to date, we somehow managed to convince Glenfarclas’s George Grant that we were a legit organization and that coming out wouldn’t be a complete waste of his time. Sucker. In order to keep up this illusion once we had him on site, we commenced pouring pints of Guinness down his throat while we stealthily sucked back the wonderful barley juice bearing his name.
Ok…so it didn’t go down quite like that (but not far off either), but some things have to be held as intellectual property of the Dram Initiative. What happens at whisky club stays at whisky club. Or something like that.
In all seriousness though, George was one of the key figures we’d been hoping to bring out to club since its very inception. Several of us had seen his presentations before and knew what a blast it was to sit in the audience as he worked his magic. The idea of being able to bring him out to a roomful of fellow whisky geeks (face it, guys and gals, that’s what we are) was one we’d been mulling over for a while. It was simply a matter of how. Seeing as one of our members had previously kidnapped him, it seemed a more…errr…diplomatic approach would probably be in order this time.
I’d initially approached George at the Willow Park ‘Whisky In The Warehouse’ festival a few months back, asking if it would be something he’d be into. His immediate reply? ‘Talk to her,’ as he cocked a thumb at Pacific Wines and Spirits’ Michelle Sharpe. Michelle was kind enough to swap cards with me and agreed to see what she could do.
Fast forward a couple of months and…voila!…from out of nothing, something.
Get a big name speaker and y’gotta pull together some big whiskies, right? That’s the way we approached it anyway, and indeed we managed to round up a very extensive – and impressive, if I do say so, myself – range of Glenfarclas expressions for this event. We wanted to keep it primarily to the core expressions this time ’round, in hopes that a little further down the line we could bring George back for a round two of single casks, store exclusives, Family Casks and other variants in the range.
Even so…walking through the Glenfarclas core range is no small feat. We kicked things off at the 8 year mark and strolled all the way up to the 40 (and then went a little beyond, as we tend to do at these friendly l’il gatherings). A couple of these releases are no longer available via standard retail around here, so it was a bit of a treat for the members and guests in attendance to get to work their way through such a thorough age-statement series.
The flight for the evening was as follows:
Glenfarclas 8 y.o.
Glenfarclas 10 y.o.
Glenfarclas 12 y.o.
Glenfarclas 15 y.o.
Glenfarclas 17 y.o.
Glenfarclas 21 y.o.
Glenfarclas 25 y.o.
Glenfarclas 30 y.o.
Glenfarclas 40 y.o.
Glenfarclas 175 Anniversary Edition
Great whiskies are one thing, of course, but paired up with a speaker who boasts an incredibly deep backstory full of hilarity and hijinks is the recipe for a very memorable evening. Sore cheeks, wet eyes and stomach cramps don’t always have to be indicative of misery. In this case all were the result of a couple hours spent in laughter and comraderie. The photo below pretty much encapsulates the general mood of the evening.
This event was a sold out affair, of course. Pretty sure we could have filled even more seats, but hey…there’s only so far you can stretch a bottle, right? Membership in the DI has grown to the point where seats will be at a premium going forward. Each event has been incredibly well-recieved, driving demand higher and higher. A flattering scenario, to say the least. It makes for some interesting management decisions, but there are way worse problems to have than how many great people you can get in a room and share a dram with, right? Or should I say share 10 drams with?
All in all, another great night. I think the club membership is starting to get a clear picture of where we’re taking them. The destination is not something we’re ready to reveal as yet, but man…it’s been a hell of a ride already.
Sincere thanks to both George and Michelle, who came through big time and were an absolute pleasure to hang out with. Can’t wait to see you both again very soon. Think we can up the ante?
– Words: Curt
– Photos: Curt