Glenfarclas completes the Pagoda Series with the Pagoda Sapphire Reserve

This Glenfarclas release is 63 years old and has been bottled in Glencairn crystal decanters


Glenfarclas Pagoda Sapphire Reserve - an unusual bottling that without any doubts belongs to the luxury segment. The focus here is not only on the extraordinary 63-year-old whisky, but also on the valuable exterior to which the special series from Glenfarclas owes its name.

No smoke has come out of the pagoda roof that has been decorating the Glenfarclas building since 1972. The Kiln has been out of service since then. In its honor, Glenfarclas created the Pagoda Series. The Pagoda Reserve Trilogy was limited to 100 editions, was released first, and a few months ago the Pagoda Ruby Reserve followed. There were 180 editions of the 0.7-liter release. Glenfarclas now also releases 180 of the 0,7-liter Pagoda Sapphire Reserve decanters as a Silver editionas well as a 1.5-liter Magnum Silver edition limited to 63 decanters. A 1.5-liter Magnum Gold edition is available, too: 45 of those decanters are on market.

In terms of prices, we move in the luxury segment as well: The 0.7-liter edition is around £24,000 ex. VAT, with the Magnum editions we're at £51,000 and 56,000 ex. VAT. The Pagoda whiskies are available from Glenfarclas itself and from The Whisky Exchange.

Fine Glencairn crystal glass, sapphires and pagoda roofs

The noble crystal decanters were designed and manufactured by hand by Glencairn. The term "Sapphire" refers to the 36 sapphires that have been applied to the glass decanter and form the age designation "63". In order to be able to choose suitable sapphires in size and dark blue color, Glencairn had a selection of 11,000 sapphires delivered, they report in a press release. George Grant, 6th generation Distillery Director of Glenfarclas, selected the whisky casks for the Pagoda Series together with Keeper of the Quaich and Ambassador of the distillery for China, Stephen Notman. It was the Chinese pagoda roofs that inspired Charles Doig over 130 years ago when he designed the striking Scottish Kiln roofs. The crystal stoppers of the decanters are based on them.

The whisky for the Glenfarclas Pagoda Sapphire Reserve was distilled in 1953 and remained in the cask until 2017. It was bottled at 45.7% ABV. We don't get any further details about the cask maturation, but on the Pagoda Series website there are tasting notes for the Pagoda Sapphire Reserve (as well as detailed information about the other editions of the series).

Official tasting notes for Glenfarclas Pagoda Sapphire Reserve

Nose: Endlessly dark and wintery. Espresso and dark bitter chocolate make a powerful first impression, alongside notes of tart blackberry and gooseberries. Rich spices appear as the whisky wakes up: cloves and nutmeg with some candied orange sweetness balancing a slight astringency.

Colour: Deep Amber.

Flavour: More citrus notes, especially cloves in oranges, appear alongside the darker sherried fruits, and heavy Christmas spices weigh down the already robust palate.

Finish: An astounding, long finish that is a journey of flavours in itself. Bitter cocoa nibs, old leather and a leafy green edge lead to tobacco and cigar smoke trailing behind.

Images: Glenfarclas