Rarely do we whisky lovers and explorers get our senses tested to the max before we are even allowed to try the whisky itself. That’s exactly what The Glenlivet Cipher has looked to achieve with its recent release.
With attendees at the launch, including GreatDrams’ very own Graham, required to unlock clues to escape from a locked room, and they were not easy; one notable clue was unearthed after finding a jar of honey and typing ‘honey’ into the typewriter to reveal a code.
The experience was very well thought through and no detail left to chance; all building up the mysterious nature of The Glenlivet Cipher.
Bottled in what will surely be one of the packaging benchmarks of the year, The Glenlivet Cipher is simply stunning. The detailing, the tactility, the opaque black glass screams ‘special’ and would make a beautiful gift or addition to your own whisky cabinet.
What makes this release even more interesting is how little information you’re presented with. Typically, with most whisky releases, you get some level of cask and finishing information, a rough idea of age and an overview of the flavour notes you’d be expecting when you sip this fine new product.
The Glenlivet Cipher has as little information as is legally possible, all we know is that the specific cask combinations have never been used by The Glenlivet before and that the end result is super-smooth with the distiller’s quintessential fruity notes.
In the digital world, The Glenlivet Cipher has its own website where anyone who is sampling The Glenlivet Cipher can input what nose and palate flavour notes they can sense, with the site telling them how close they are to the exact flavour profile Master Distiller Alan Winchester has created.
Alan says of the launch:
“For the true whisky connoisseurs out there, we have combined a unique and original selection of casks to craft The Glenlivet Cipher as part of our commitment to building upon the flawlessly smooth and fruity house style of The Glenlivet.”
When I had a go, I scored a 48% which is pretty poor really (although half marks when there are a possible 10,000 possible flavour combinations surely is not that bad?), but I went back again and tried it one more time, really going through my WSET Spirits Tasting Training and received a marginally improved 53%.
Truly, I loved the thought provoking nature of this launch, loved the liquid and loved the whole idea about challenging whisky drinkers’ senses without giving the answer.
I’ve been to many blind tastings over the years but actually thinking about certain aromas and tastes before sampling the whisky itself is a really quirky take on the notion of whisky tasting.
The Glenlivet Cipher, limited to 33,000 bottles globally, is going to be available in 25 markets, including the UK, Taiwan and Canada, and is currently exclusively available in Selfridges here in the UK for £110.
Nose: Lots of honey, smooth, hints of spice – likely ginger as that came through more on the palate
Palate: Creamy, smooth, ginger, fresh apples, orchard fruits – potentially citrus and more honey is definitely present
Finish: Fun, medium length, sweet and fruity