The Glenlivet Code – can you crack the code?

Glenlivet Code Logo

In late March I took part in The Glenlivet Hackathon, which was part of the activity surrounding the launch of the newest addition to Glenlivet’s no-cask-info-no-tasting-notes-no-nothing range, The Glenlivet Code. Following on from Alpha and Cipher (reviewed here and here), the challenge was to once again decode the tasting notes by selecting from various flavour and aroma combinations on The Code’s interactive digital minisite, and comparing my notes to those of Glenlivet Master Distiller, Alan Winchester.

Commenting on the launch of The Glenlivet Code, Winchester said: “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. This year’s limited edition is a labyrinth of flavours 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.” Having scored a respectable 79% with Glenlivet Cipher a couple of years ago, I was keen to improve on that score, and it would appear that my nose and palate have become quite in tune with Mr Winchester’s over the last 24 months…

Due to me signing various non-disclosure agreements and shaking hands on several hush money deals as well as me generally being a good sport, I won’t give any spoilers or provide my exact flavour wheel answers here, but I will give you a brief insight into what the Code has to offer. You’ll have to wait until the end of the year before Glenlivet reveal the official notes.

Glenlivet Code
48% ABV
£94.95 here

Nose: Light baking spice, some cinnamon and maybe nutmeg, then cinder toffee, floral honey, and ripe orchard fruits; apples and pears primarily.

Palate: The spice is there, and it’s zingy, almost sherbet-y – maybe some fresh ginger? The wood element is there too, but it’s restrained and aromatic; star anise, liquorice and light oak. Loads of fruit – pineapple, pear, apple again, mango and a touch of lychee.

Finish: The fruits fade to a vanilla custard covered fruit salad, along with some lemony notes and faint oak.

Overall: Very, very good. I prefer this to both Cipher and Alpha I think. A very summery dram but complex at the same time, which appears to have come mainly from the distillate, with the cask influence hovering in the background. As for breaking the code and comparing your notes to someone else’s, I’m always a bit sceptical of these things because whisky is such a personal and subjective experience. Having said that, it’s a bit of fun and really makes you think a bit more about the dram in your hand. What’s that smell…? Oh, what does this taste remind me of…? Nothing wrong with that. Want to try your luck? Grab a dram of The Code and log on to the minisite here. You have until the end of the year before Winchester’s (or mine for that matter) ‘official’ tasting notes are revealed, good luck!




  1. You will have to be 21 or more than and playing within New
    Jersey to take benefit.

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