Confession: I do not know much about the HBO series Game of Thrones, nor am I versed on the novels upon which the show is based. What I have been able to ascertain from friends whose opinions I respect is that involves gratuitous nudity, people talking about winter, dragons, a throne, and the supremely underrated acting genius of Peter Dinklage.
So I am most certainly not the most qualified person on the planet to be speaking to the quality of the program. I’m sure it’s nice, but I just haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. However, I am confident in my abilities to assess single malts, and since Diageo has paired 8 of their classic malts together with references to the series in a batch of limited releases, it seems like the best way to start engaging with the TV show (which I understand starts its final season tomorrow).
It is also one of Diageo’s better executed marketing campaigns: On release day, there were plenty of folks in line at my local retailer in Kentucky, a region more known for its bourbon fanaticism than cultural awareness. However, I wasn’t fully convinced many of them were there for prize inside the bottles as they were for the packaging. As we were limited to two per customer, I grabbed what was available by the time it was my turn.
Whisky is coming:
Lagavulin Game of Thrones House Lannister 9 Years Old – Zero clue what a House Lannister is, but I do know Lagavulin and this is definitely something worth hunting down. The usual one-two punch of Islay peat and smoke are heavy on the nose and, like its 8 year old sibling, full of candied fruit, salt notes, and a bit of iodine. It’s got a nice and long finish with a generous dollop of smoke notes and lemon. Everyone raves on about how good the 16 and 12 year expressions are, but this could definitely hold its own in a battle for a throne or dragon or something. A splendid conquest. 92 proof. A- / $60 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Clynelish Game of Thrones House Tyrell – Once again, do not know what House Tyrell is but I’m guessing they are rivals of House Lannister. Apologies in advance if I am wrong or if I have offended the gentle constitution of Game of Thrones fans. This NAS Clynelish packs a bit of a punch at cask strength, and there’s plenty of lemon, saline, and green apple notes on the nose from which to indulge. The palate is ripe with honey and mild vanilla but turns slightly bitter halfway through. The finish isn’t exactly what I would call the strongest, and it doesn’t really provide new discoveries to unearth. Not the best Clynelish I’ve ever had, but certainly far from the worst. 102.4 proof. B / $70 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]