|Johnnie Walker/Game of Thrones
|41.7% (83.4 Proof)
This limited edition was Diageo’s Johnnie Walker addition to the series of mostly pretty decent Game of Thrones branded single malts from their massive portfolio of Scottish distilleries. An additional gimmick here is that, if you freeze the bottle, you’ll see some changes on the wrapping. Which one could interpret to be a less-then-trust-inspiring suggestion or expectation by Diageo that most people should or will drink this on the rocks. Winter… is it coming?
Nose: Something green? Conifer-like? Like pine boards painted with stain made from freshly ground pine needles and a base of bitter sap. A minute or two in there is a surprising puff of sherry that quickly melts away into caramel made from generic brown sugar. (5/10)
Palate: Hm, this is actually reasonably nice given that I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of the nose. A mellow but flavorful entrance. Is that a very faint echo of Bowmore lavender notes in there? Anyhow, this will do fine as a starter for the night but probably won’t hold up to much else that comes after. The flavors do wear out sip after sip like a cheap t-shirt’s fading colors but it’s pleasant enough. (6.8/10)
Finish: Surprisingly, even at this low strength, the blend actually manages to generate a little bit of heat in the chest, at least when it’s the first of the night. A pleasant surprise that. Unfortunately all the notes from the palate thin out into some residual bitterness and sparingly applied coating of some sweet, fake fruit flavor, like some unpopular candy. That said, eventually things layer up a bit and there’s actually a pleasantly flavorful afterglow to enjoy. It takes perhaps a bit too much effort to get there but, hey, not complaining. Well, not complaining anymore after it arrives. (6/10)
Balance: Eh, it’s not terrible or anything. Happy to warm up with this one if there’s nothing else that’s more enticing. No particular desire to stay with it for too long though. Time to move on. If the rating for balance feels oddly low it’s partly because of the suboptimal nose and mostly because the pleasant part of the finish takes a while to develop and, until that happens, the backend is not exactly enjoyable. There’s good stuff in this blend but, in terms of the experience and the journey, the price one has to pay for it is perhaps just a little higher than warranted. (5.5/10)