Winter is coming… well, actually, the seasonal version is already here. As to the HBO version, we must endure the rest of winter and tentatively step into spring before Game of Thrones is back on our screens in April.
But what better way to while away the winter and keep in the warmth than drinking?
If you’re itching to view the eighth and final season, biting your fingernails to the quick as you fidget nervously with your currently unemployed remote, you can calm those nerves with a special collection of Game of Thrones single malt Scotch whisky.
Diageo has released an eight-bottle collection, yes eight… one for each season, of single malts based on the hit TV series. These beautifully matured malts herald the long-awaited eighth (and final) season of Game of Thrones.
I have a little confession to make here. I’ve never watched Game of Thrones, and perhaps one might think that I am not the best person to be waxing spiritual about this whisky collection. Then again, this blog post is about whisky not TV… or is it? But I do not live in a cave, and have read and heard enough about “the Iron Throne” and “white walkers” to feel as though I can pass GoT 101.
Diageo has produced an excellent collection paying special attention to detail by selecting a variety of distilleries and distinctive house styles. A selection of single malts as varied as the Houses on GoT.
Each bottle of the collection is paired with one of the Houses of Westesros or the Night’s Watch and bears each individual House’s sigil on the bottle. For example, the Night’s Watch bottle is characteristically black.
All this research into this much lauded TV series and whisky flavours and distilleries has made me thirsty, and not just for a snifter of single malt. I’m curious about the Valyrian Empire, and I’m wondering about this long-awaited winter. And of course, it must be a good story if it has dragons in it.
I might just obtain a bottle or two for myself as I binge-watch the first seven series, and by the time the final series comes on air I may just be a Game of Thrones Meister myself.
So, join me in selecting the malt for each House as they battle for the Throne and for the next round of drinks.
An appealing nose of orange zest, milk chocolate, peat smoke, apple, pear, and lemon. On the palate the classic Oban chocolate-orange palate takes centre stage with an extra tang of chardonnay. A strong finish with yeasty bread and shortbread. A lean and muscular malt that invites another sip.
A simple, fruity, modest nose of apple rings, pear, toffee and vanilla with a malt-driven palate that brings orange, peanuts, toasted almonds. A short and spirited finish.
The House of the ubiquitous “Winter is coming” motto is appropriately represented by its chosen distiller. A very fruity, brandy-like nose delivers white grape, pineapple, kiwi, and a touch of sherry. On the palate it is mellow and malty at first, with a wave of high-toned pear, cinnamon, ginger, honey, and wax. A spicy warming drink with a thick mouth feel.
Legend has it that Helen Cumming, founder of Cardhu Distillery would disguise the distiller as a bakery when taxmen came around to avoid paying alcohol taxes. The bottle bears Targaryen’s dragon crest where, just like Helen, a strong woman calls the shots.
This is a sweet and gentle whisky that ramps up to a modest crescendo underpinned by graham crackers. There a slight tartness similar to grapefruit pitch with a warming finish of clove, cinnamon, and black pepper. A little clunky to the finish.
A little bit musty on the nose at first, followed by blackberries, vanilla ice cream, cut grass, and shortbread. The enticing nose leads to a peak of fresh berries and a touch of citrus on the palate. The malt finish has biscuits, marmalade, nutmeg, and a woodsy tannin.
The House of “what is dead may never die.” And you might not want this whisky to die either. A heady nose of Mexican chocolate, barbecue ribs, salt water, and banana, is followed by Talisker’s renowned salty and smoky palate. A bold finish of charred meat, grilled nectarines, and chili powder makes for a bold more-ish whisky.
A delicate nose of fresh baked pastries mixed with the scent of freshly waxed hardwood floor. A well-integrated palate of papaya, banana, and mango linger as hints of milk chocolate and elderflower shyly enter the mix. With an almost endless finish that clings to your tongue, this is one whisky of which you can say it is “growing strong.”
Hear this malt roar with its nose of banana, dried mango, puffs of wet smoke, incense and rich malt syrup. On the palate it demonstrates sweet and earthy notes upfront with dried banana, smoke, burnt caramel, and lots of salty goodness coming up from behind, with hints of mint, cannabis, and lanolin peeking through. A long cooling finish of spearmint, eucalyptus, ash, and salt makes this a fun drink to share and enjoy over an episode of sword fights and fire-breathing dragons.