Glenlivet Cipher Review

Glenlivet Cipher is a whisky clouded in mystery and secrecy. A real Da Vinci Code of the whisky world. If it were a board game it would be Cluedo!

Usually a whisky bottle carries information about the age of the whisky and the casks it has been matured in. Not the Glenlivet Cipher. As the name suggests its up to your nose and palate to play detective and unlock the mysteries.

A great concept, often we place too much emphasis on the information on the label or pamphlet. Repeatedly when I read the official notes and wonder ‘where are they getting these notes from – I must be drinking a different whisky’. Every palate is different and notes should really be used as a guide.

Anyway, lets get stuck into what clues the Cipher gives us:

Nosing (Aromas)

On the nose there is beautiful sweetness in the form of honey and vanilla crashing against a wall of cinnamon to produce a decent experience.

Palate (Taste)

The same sweetness profile continues to the palate but this time bringing with it some dark chocolate notes. There is also oak and a touch of ginger to create good harmony of flavours.

Finish (After Taste)

The finish is no doubt dominated by spice and oakiness which linger, begging for the next mouthful of sweetness from the palate.

As far as who done it is concerned, I’d say ex-bourbon barrel, the vanilla in the nosing is very bourbonesque.  Maybe even spent some time in a sherry cask as the ginger in the palate is a signature of sherry casks. Finally, like the Glenlivet 15 year old, this may have spent some time in a French oak as there are some similarities between the two whiskies.

Overall, I’d say this whisky is worth the price of admission – just like the Da Vinci Code.

Notes on the Author – Pranil Chandra is the man behind the Instagram Whisky Blog kyandkey. He holds regular corporate whisky tasting masterclass. Learn more at

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