I don't usually pay that much attention to design and packaging, or at least I don't think I do. Or maybe I just like to think I don't. Maybe the people that do the designing of the packaging know that there are people like me that like to think that they don't pay attention, and they are sitting there (possibly in a large leather-covered swivel chair stroking a cat) feeling pretty smug knowing they entice 'people who don't pay attention to packaging' into buying well-packaged products day after day. These people have degrees in things after all... Mwahahahahahahaha!
What was my point? Well this all goes back to a conversation I had the other week about Glenfarclas 105. It's a cask-strength sherry-monster, rather like the Aberlour Abunad'h - which is one of my personal favourite whiskies from back in my Oddbins days... and I've never tried it. I couldn't really put my finger on why - after all it ticks all the whisky boxes for me, being powerful and rich with oodles of sherry cask influence. I wondered whether it might be the packaging. I've had Glenfarclas 10 on occasions and while it's a perfectly decent whisky it doesn't really grab me by my sherry-loving palate and make me want to try the rest of the range. The it struck me that it might be the labels - they're just not really very... anything. Not bad, in the way that things can get bad, particularly when it comes to beer, just... uninspiring.
In the interest of regaining my faith in myself for looking beyond the packaging I tried the Whisky Shop's exclusive Glenfarclas 2003 vintage. It's similarly labelled to other Glenfarclas, but if it's not in disguise it's definitely a plain clothes operation because, wow, what a whisky! It's got a sugared almond/marzipan nose, the sherry influence coming through much more than the ten year old expression. It still retains its youthful exuberance though, and on the palate the venerable sherry dances with the speyside fruit, sultanas, demerara sugar and a touch of vanilla spice.
Next stop I think will have to be the 105, now I know the packaging is just a cunning ruse from the nice guy in that chair over there. Wait, that's not a cat... Argh, my throat, get it off me!
Note: Although I got to try this whisky through work, I'm only writing about it because I really enjoyed it rather than some sort of work promotion!