I was invited to take part in a ‘taste hackathon’, trying to unlock the secrets of the new Glenlivet Code. This successor of the Glenlivet Alpha and Glenlivet Cipher has the same concept: no age, no cask type, no tasting notes and an opaque, mysterious black bottle. Make up your own mind… They’ll probably tell us what it was in a few months.
Glenlivet Code (48%, OB 2018)
Nose: the first thing I noticed was a sweet, slightly fragrant winey side. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were Portuguese Moscatel or Madeira casks involved. Juicy fruits like red apples and baked peaches. Orange peel. Toffee notes and cinnamon. Light marshmallow. A touch of sourness as well. Subtle floral notes stand out after a while (a hint towards French oak perhaps).
Mouth: starts sweet and rather fruity, with oranges (later also candied peels), hints of baked pineapple and subtle banana. The spices quickly set in, bringing ginger and nutmeg, as well as an oakiness and liquorice roots.
Finish: medium, drier, still some oranges but now mainly the spices talking.
Nice one, better than Cipher in my book. Good balance between fruity sweetness and oak spices. Value for money is quite good even without the whole code-breaking element. Around € 115 (only place I found is The Whisky Barrel).
Last time I had some comments on the Cipher website (which gave you a score based on the flavours you selected) as I always seemed to end up within the same 50% range no matter what I selected. This time I ended up with 59% and 75% accuracy on the second attempt.
I’m quite happy with this result, but I still feel it’s often difficult to choose. For instance you’ll have to chose between pineapple, banana and plum, but I think there’s a bit of pineapple AND a bit of banana. They expect you to describe a flavour the way they perceive it, and the rest is wrong. Obviously aromas and flavours are a complex matter, so this is still not a clear-cut game, but good fun nonetheless.