[Review] The Glenlivet - Cipher 48%

Not a proper full-on tasting as such today -as I haven't bought a bottle of it- but I did however get to try the new Glenlivet Cipher at Selfridges Manchester.

Cipher is the latest Glenlivet release, it is exclusive to Selfridges (on the UK market) and as you might be able to work out from its name and mat black bottle, it is a bit of a mystery as far as the whisky is concerned. No information on the label regarding age, casks used, tasting notes, type of maturation... apart from the fact that it has been bottled at 48% and that it costs £110.
Whether you consider it a publicity stunt, a way for a distillery to over-charge the customer or a great way to get back to the basics of smell and taste, you cannot deny that it is surrounded in mystery. It is supposed to be a limited edition too. I was told 1,200 bottles only, but doing a bit of research about it, it seems like the 1,200 limit is for the UK market only. When you consider that Cipher is available in 25 different country, I wouldn't be surprised if the distillery produced over 30,000 bottles, so not that limited in the end...

I wonder if Bruce Wayne has placed an order for the Bat-cave,,,

As far as the flavours are concerned, as I mentioned before, I haven't had much time with it and only experienced it in a shop, with a very small sample whilst talking to the shop assistant, but what I picked up was a sweet and spicy profile, both on the nose and palate, probably coming from (fresh?) oak casks: notes of honey, vanilla and liquorice. I also picked up a few gingery, chocolaty notes on the finish. If you go on the Glenlivet website, you can actually try to reconstitute the flavour profile for the whisky. I gave it a go from memory and go 66% of it correct. Here is what I thought:

Before bringing this post to an end, there is still one question I have been wondering about: Is Cipher really the "most mysterious whisky" out there, in other words, has it already been done before? 
I do remember trying the Bruichladdich Black Art 4 and looking more into the components, but that too was a bit of a secret kept by Jim McEwan. I know we were given more information about the flavour profile, but not really about how the whisky came together. And then I decided to check Glenlivet at auction and came across the Glenlivet Alpha, which looked very strangely similar to the new Cipher. Looking more into it, I realised that it was exactly the same idea just a couple of years ago with a more limited release at the time (only 3,350 bottles). I also had a quick look around the internet but did not find any others, so if you know of more, leave a comment below!

I do like the idea of a release that people would taste "blind" and despite never having tried Glenlivet before, I did enjoy the taste of it, but I am not sure I am prepared to part with £110 to get to play the Cipher game. 

The Glenlivet website:

Information on the Glenlivet Alpha from Master of Malt:

More information on the Glenlivet Alpha:


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