Recently we did a Game of Thrones Whisky tasting and dinner event. Here’s whiskyhobo’s observation of the 8 single malts we tasted that night.
I have to be honest, maybe I’ve been living in my cave for too long, I have never watched a single episode of Game of Thrones, but I do know it’s a show about medieval people killing and dethroning one another – There are dragons and monsters too. But hey they have very cool single malt collection from Diageo, each one bearing a crest of the clans – or Houses as they call it – featured in the show, and the single malts are selected because they bear similar heritage to their respective houses they represent.
I love how well packaged all of them are, it looks really cool as a collection in a whisky shelf, but whiskies are made for drinking, let’s find out which one’s the best of them all.
HOUSE TARGARYEN: CARDHU GOLD RESERVE, 40% ABV
Why: Cardhu distillery is pioneered by strong women leaders Helen and Elizabeth Cumming, this mirrors Queen Daenerys Targaryen
Notes: Delicate, soft nose with hints of pear and spices. On the palate it develops into apple pie like, very light and easy drinking.
HOUSE STARK: DALWHINNIE WINTER’S FROST, 43% ABV
Why: 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.
Notes: Whoa, very sweet smelling, lots of honey, it reminds me of a time when i served Dalwhinnie 15yo straight from the freezer – the nose suggests that this is a very rich and thick liquid, but on the palate it is not as full bodied as the nose suggests, it opens up with hints of dark fruits.
HOUSE BARATHEON: ROYAL LOCHNAGAR 12 YEAR OLD, 45% ABV
Why: 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 granted a Royal Warrant after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the distillery in 1848.
Notes: I love Royal Lochnagar, it is a classic example of a scotch single malt and this one doesn’t disappoint, on the nose a distinct oakiness shines through, very malty, rich and creamy on the palate – apple and honey with right amount of oak and spices. Very graceful and balanced, truly a nobleman’s drink. Side note: is this the same as the standard 12yo?
HOUSE TYRELL: CLYNELISH RESERVE, 51.2% ABV
Why: House Tyrell of Highgarden rules over the Reach, the lush and fertile region of Westeros. Like the Reach, Clynelish is positioned among green pastures and rolling hills, with scenic views of the North Sea.
Notes: High hopes for this one as I’ve been tasting brilliant Clynelishes recently, the nose opens with lots of floral notes, the tropical fruits. A little spice on the palate along with the signature waxiness, honey. It’s not bad but I had higher hopes for this Clynelish
HOUSE TULLY: THE SINGLETON GLENDULLAN SELECT, 40% ABV
Why: Salmon is the symbol for Singleton, and also the crest of house Tully.
Notes: This is my first time trying a Singleton of Glendullan, I’ve only tried Dufftown and Glen Ord before but the nose is an easy, approachable sweet toffee, on the palate it is malty, balanced with spice and cinnamon. I think i can drink a ton of these, it’s so approachable and I think it works well on the rocks too.
THE NIGHT’S WATCH: OBAN LITTLE BAY RESERVE, 43% ABV
Why: 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.
Notes: Honey, orange peel, touch of smoke lingering in the background. On the palate it gives you cinnamon, cherries and slightly tart fruits before oak and spices finish
HOUSE GREYJOY: TALISKER SELECT RESERVE, 45.8% ABV
Why: 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.
Notes: Smoke, spicy, smells like sea spray. On the palate it is quite numbing, salted caramel on your second sip and it reminds me of Mala dishes – Szechuan peppers, chillies, salty and wok fried smokiness and char. I’m suddenly hungry.
HOUSE LANNISTER: LAGAVULIN 9 YEAR OLD, 46% ABV)
Why: 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.
Notes: A vibrant Lagavulin! apples, pears, sweet peat amongst vanilla and caramel. On the palate it is smoky, malty, banana, kind of reminds me of pisang goreng! yummy!
All in all, it’s a good diverse collection. There’s something for everyone here, and if I have to choose my favourites, it will be the Royal Lochnagar and Lagavulin. It’s a shame Indonesia will never see these on sale, but the nearest you can get them is from Singapore DFS.