Review: The Glenlivet Code
Though everyone’s a fan of transparency, whisky drinkers also love a good mystery.
Well, our friends at The Glenlivet are happy to indulge us with this new whisky, Glenlivet Code, which intentionally keeps its composition a secret.
Some details… er, so to speak.
The Glenlivet takes whisky enthusiasts on a journey of discovery, while also putting their single malt knowledge to the test with the U.S. launch of limited-edition The Glenlivet Code, a mysterious single malt introduced without cask information or tasting notes. Inspired by the iconic British Code breakers, the latest innovation is a unique combination of flavors that will measure the senses of even the most discerning whisky drinker by entering a digital tasting experience where they will be challenged to “Unlock the Taste” of the mystery whisky.
The global launch for The Glenlivet Code is supported by the innovative digital campaign to cement The Glenlivet’s role as the definitive Speyside single malt, renowned for its heritage as an authority within the single malts category. Maintaining this exceptional quality that The Glenlivet is famed for, The Glenlivet Code embodies the brand’s smooth and fruity tasting notes with some additional twists to unlock. The mystery whisky is crafted from specially selected casks to produce a new, never-before created single malt scotch whisky.
“With The Glenlivet Code, we had a unique opportunity to create a whisky that has never been crafted before, using new casks and techniques to push the boundaries of what people expect from The Glenlivet,” said Master Distiller, Alan Winchester. “This year’s limited edition is a labyrinth of flavors that will test the senses of even the most discerning whisky drinker and we’re excited to invite consumers worldwide to take on the ultimate challenge by unlocking its mystery taste. The interactive experience will allow whisky enthusiasts at all levels to build their knowledge of the category while also developing a deeper understanding of The Glenlivet.”
To begin the decoding challenge, consumers are invited to scan a code on the back of The Glenlivet Code bottle carton using the Shazam app to enter a virtual underground room. There, they will be greeted by a hologram of The Glenlivet’s Master Distiller, Alan Winchester, who will challenge them to decode the taste of the liquid by selecting four aromas for the nose and four flavors for the palate from several possible combinations.
After decoding the flavors of the new whisky, participants will be given a score which they can post on their social channels to see how they rank against their peers. The official tasting notes will be revealed at the end of the year to give consumers the time to discover and enjoy the liquid themselves.
We only received a small sample, not a full bottle, but it turns out you can play the interactive game on this website all the same. (Heck, it’s interesting to check out even if you don’t have the whisky in hand.)
We played the game, but our tasting notes on the mystery dram are more free-form than the game would direct.
It’s clearly a well-sherried whisky from the start. The nose is boldly spicy with notes of red pepper, ginger, citrus, and hints of sulfury molasses. After some time in glass, some astringent notes of old vermouth and a salty, briny note — almost camphor-like — emerge.
The palate is bold and lively, the sherry notes dampening any astringency and some of the camphor notes. Here they are replaced by a rich dark chocolate character, with notes of salted caramel, toffee, raisins, and Christmas spices. Chewy and soothing, the body is lightly oily, while the finish is lengthy with those spice notes hanging on — a eucalyptus character emerging on the back end.
What do I think this is? My guess is a 15 to 18 year old malt, aged primarily in sherry casks, perhaps with some finishing in an exotic wine cask, maybe something unusual, like a Spanish white. That’s just a wild guess, of course. Feel free to offer up your own!