Bartender

The Glenlivet Code: Deciphering a Mystery

Only 2,000 whisky-loving Australians will get the chance to decipher The Glenlivet’s newest secret drop. Chances are that one of them is you. It’s why you’re here, isn’t it?

When we got an invite to The Glenlivet’s whisky-tasting event, we never thought it’d be a theatrical experience, laden with seductive lighting and intriguing waiters. All of us had one job: to solve the mysterious aromas and tastes of The Glenlivet Code.

The intimate vestibule. Image: Supplied

As we mingled in the vestibule they gave us a palate cleanser, which is something to consider before letting a mysterious spirit grace your lips. Might we suggest water dribbled with cucumber extract? Swish it around, let it clear up the leftovers from previous meals, allow it to freshen your mouth. Do you feel ready? Is your mouth at peace? If so, then let’s enter:

The doors open on cue, revealing the first step towards salvation. Waiters carry neat serves of The Glenlivet Code. The intimate room lights up with a dozen podiums of specific ingredients. Fascination is swept up by curiosity. Large chemistry flasks with their bases cut out, hold in scents. There’s a cascade of dark chocolate, a pile of peaches, and a bouquet of flowers, scattered among other interesting elements. The easiest one to note is the cinnamon. It’s unmistakable as the liquid’s scintillating tang pervades the nose. And can you smell the smoke? And what’s that other smell? It’s a difficult one. Sweet, like toffee, but not as pleasant. Is that… treacle?

The room is closed off by tall white curtains. Around us are fellow bloggers, tv personalities and Glenlivet executives taking turns to drop their noses to the lips of each chemistry flask for another whiff. Their eyebrows scrunch with each inhalation. Then, when they think they know it, their eyebrows rise. 

The music dies again, the lights dim, and the emcee is back on the mic. We’ve taken in the aromas, she says, but how are your taste buds? Lights begin to flash as the white curtains open. The next step. A glow invades the room. 

And then you see the food.

On the far left of the room, there’s a balanced stack of breadsticks. But don’t be fooled, they only look like breadsticks. A bite reveals their true intentions. Liquorice. Pastry-covered liquorice. And what is the dramatically-dressed waitress carrying? Something with banana. We learn this from the banana bunches decorating the platter wrapped around her.

In the back corner is a black wall with triangle cutouts where a black-gloved hand holds a martini glass through the hole, with a spiked cherry laying in its red contents. How spellbinding. We take a sip, expecting an overload of cherry, but our senses remain intact. Not as strong as we thought. It’s pleasant. We cross the room, passing a waiter carrying a pole over his shoulders, with two platters of hors-d’oeuvres dangling from either side. Also called a milkmaid’s yoke, says the waiter to a group of tipplers. We also pass a glass bubble filled with hard-boiled lollies. Don’t want to ruin our palate with that, but we mentally take note. We’re heading towards a wall meticulously stabbed with spoons. Each spoon holds a shortbread biscuit with plum jam squished between its top and bottom halves. It crumbles in our mouth with one bite.

Spoons hold a plum jam shortbread biscuit. Image: Supplied

It’s now time to taste the neat whisky resting in our hand. The glass tilts as our lips are puckered. It’s smooth. We hold it in, mentally going through all the flavours we are tasting. What is strong? What is mild? Our eyebrows squeeze together as our minds collect the flavours – but we soon learn it’ll take more than just one sip.


If you’re intrigued and desperate for a taste, head over to your local Dan Murphys and get a bottle of The Glenlivet Code. When you’re home and ready for a journey, scan the barcode on the back of the bottle with your smartphone.

Oh, and don’t forget the palate cleanser.

For more information, head to www.TheGlenlivet.com.au

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