While wine may be the drink of choice in HBO’s phenomenal Game of Thrones, the various textures of the show’s universe are best expressed through Whisky. Diageo have recognised this, and so has HBO; which is why they’ve teamed up to officially release several expressions from different iconic brands, each making up a limited-edition collection of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies paired with some of the most iconic houses from Westeros.
Timing the release just ahead of the final ever season of HBO’s monster hit (9 days!), Diageo have unveiled just what whiskies will pair with what houses, and why. The company’s diverse range of distilleries in Scotland each have their own unique characteristics, which have been carefully considered when deciding which distillery will represent which house.
“We’re excited that the Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection will be hitting shelves in more countries around the world”, said Pedro Mendonca, Global Reserve Marketing & Malts Director. “We are always trying to find fun and interesting ways to introduce our Scotch
portfolio and what better way than partnering with Game of Thrones, one of the most successful TV series ever created. We are thrilled to be celebrating the final season of the show by toasting with whiskies that authentically pay homage to some of the greatest characters and houses”.
House Targaryen, for example, has been tied to Cardhu Gold Reserve from The Cardhu Distillery, which was pioneered by Helen Cumming and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth during the 1800s. Why? Well Cardhu’s birth was in a time when the whisky industry was almost entirely male-dominated, which fits nicely with the story of Daenerys Targaryen.
The collection follows the release of White Walker by Johnnie Walker earlier this year. See below for the official descriptions and prices of each Whisky-House pairing.
Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost; RRP: $99.99 for 700ml; ABV 43%
House Stark’s resiliency, strength and ability to thrive under the most intense situations are greatly shaped by Winterfell’s frigid temperatures. Dalwhinnie, known for being one of the highest distilleries in all of Scotland is cold and remote much like The North where House Stark calls home, making the two an iconic pairing. Extreme conditions are responsible for shaping the signature Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost honeyed sweetness and spicy warmth. Naturally, it’s best served chilled or over ice.
Tasting Notes: Honey and fresh fig develop on the palate followed by a delicious maltiness and rich fruit cake.
Singleton of Glendullan Select; RRP: $99.99 for 700ml; ABV 40%
House Tully located at Riverrun, rules as the lord of the River lands. The power of water flows through both House Tully and The Singleton Glendullan Select as it is made on the banks of the River Fiddich in the wooded hills of Dufftown.
Here they harnessed the water that owed through the land utilizing a water wheel to power the entire distillery.
Tasting Notes: Orange and clove open on the nose but on the palate there’s red berry compote and vanilla cheesecake with a pronounced cereal spice finish.
Cardhu Gold Reserve; RRP: $99.99 for 700ml; ABV 40%
Fuelled by the same fiery spirit of the fierce female leadership of Daenerys Targaryen, this single malt celebrates legendary women and their unwavering perseverance. The Cardhu Distillery was pioneered by Helen Cumming and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth during the 1800s, a time when the whisky industry was almost entirely male-dominated.
Tasting Notes: Baked apple with baking spices open on the first nosing then transforms on the palate into a rich caramel character with hints of clove, red apple and a gentle nuttiness.
Lagavulin 9 Year Old; RRP: $129.99 for 700ml; ABV 46%
Lagavulin is one of the most legendary single malt brands and has been crafted on the shores of Islay for more than 200 years – mirroring the meticulous calculation and tenacity employed by the Lannister’s in their rise to conquer the Iron Throne.
This single malt whisky is a roaring single malt that recalls the Lannister’s riches and is best served neat or with a single drop of water.
Tasting Notes: Characteristic Lagavulin sweet smoke explodes on the nose with a little more brine than the other expressions. The palate opens with smoked caramelized banana and heavy vanilla and burnt marshmallow which subside into a light dry, slightly salted caramel.
The Night’s Watch
Oban Bay Reserve; RRP: $129.99 for 700ml; ABV 43%
The Oban distillery sits beneath the steep cliff that overlooks the bay in the frontier between the west Highlands and the Islands of Scotland, separating land and sea, just as Castle Black, home of The Night’s Watch, sits between Westeros and the lands beyond The Wall. The liquid’s richness is balanced with a woody, spicy dryness that The Night’s Watch could enjoy even on the coldest of nights.
Tasting Notes: Rich notes of cherry pie and candied orange peel open up on the palate that drifts into a wonderful crème caramel and a wisp of charred oak.
Talisker Select Reserve; RRP: $99.99 for 700ml; ABV 45.8%
House Greyjoy rules the Iron Islands and worships the Drowned God. Talisker was a natural pair for House Greyjoy as this single malt is distilled on the shores of the Isle of Skye, one of the most remote and rugged areas of Scotland. The layered flavours and signature maritime character of Talisker Select Reserve are the result of its wave-battered shores. This liquid is an intense smoky single malt Scotch with spicy, powerful and sweet elements combined with maritime flavours.
Tasting Notes: Dry Sichuan peppery smoke and dark chocolate on the nose. On the palate the salted caramel with chili flakes explode into a smoky fruit cake of spice and the finish is long and complex with a lasting character of leather.
Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old; RRP: $129.99 for 700ml; ABV 40%
Royal lineage drives the iconic pairing between House Baratheon and Royal Lochnagar. Similar to Robert Baratheon ruling the Seven Kingdoms upon the Iron Throne, Royal Lochnagar was deemed a whisky worthy of a royal family as it was granted a Royal Warrant after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the distillery in 1848. Balanced with delicate fruits and spices, this taste of royalty is best enjoyed neat.
Tasting Notes: Light notes of oak and sweet liquorice that develops into a rich, creamy vanilla coffee and finishes with a mild nutmeg custard note