Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry
Added coloring: Yes
Average price: € 40.00
Official website: www.malts.com
Here I am at the last bottling of the special series of single malts that Diageo has dedicated to Game of Thrones: only the two Johnnie Walkers to go, and I can pretend it never existed…
The distillery’s debut wasn’t the happiest: built by James Robertson in 1823, just three years later it was razed to the ground by competitors, clearly not very happy to have a new competitor in the Highlands, especially considering that they were almost all illegal.
Undaunted, Robertson rebuilt it a little further away, but they burnt it again, and at that point he took the hint and gave up everything. He was succeeded by (the fearless one, I’d say) John Begg, who built the third Lochnagar in 1845, and this time it worked out well for him because it’s the distillery that’s still active today.
And he did so well that three years later he received the royal seal from Queen Victoria, since she had bought the Balmoral estate nearby and wanted to take a walk to the distillery (and maybe even have a dram or two).
The distillery remained in the hands of Begg’s heirs, who rebuilt it (without it being accidentally destroyed) in 1896, until it passed into the hands of John Dewar & Sons in 1916 and, consequently, Diageo.
The distillery is one of the few to fill casks on site, and is home to Diageo’s Malt Advocate Academy, where company employees attend courses on whisky types.
As always, here’s a summary of all the editions:
– Cardhu Gold Reserve (dedicated to the House Targaryen);
– Clynelish Reserve (dedicated to the House Tyrell);
– Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost (dedicated to the House Stark);
– Lagavulin 9yo (dedicated to the House Lannister);
– Mortlach 15yo (dedicated to the Six Kingdoms);
– Oban Bay Reserve (dedicated to the Night’s Watch);
– Royal Lachnagar 12yo (dedicated to the House Baratheon);
– Singleton of Glendullan Reserve (dedicated to the House Tully);
– Talisker Select Reserve (dedicated to the House Greyjoy).
Nominally not part of the series, but nevertheless inspired by GoT, are the following:
– Johnnie Walker White Walker (dedicated to the White Walkers);
– Johnnie Walker Song of Fire and Johnnie Walker Song of Ice.
Sour apple cider-like effluvia greets the nose, followed shortly by peach, vanilla, hazelnuts, cereals, a light citrus touch and wood. Alcohol a bit invasive despite being at such low alcohol content.
Ethereal and watery on the palate, it’s elusive in its aromas with a predominance of cereals that dominate any tones that end up in the background: a little apple, vanilla, a hint of dried fruit, a splash of lemon… but it all flows away easily, leaving behind a trace of alcohol and the astringency of wood.
The finish is short but still too long, of alcohol, wood, apples and cereals.
It competes with Dalwhinnie as the worst single malt in the series (admittedly, White Walker wins hands down when considering the entire collection), a malt best suited to blending, which if taken alone you risk getting drunk because you forget you had it.