Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Collection Australia Launch

The wait is over, this goes for both the return of the much-anticipated return of the Game of Thrones TV series as well as the Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection from Diageo. Firstly, I have to admit that I am a closet fan of the series having followed the series from day dot so the excitement of seeing two things I love come together - is rather exciting. There may be references below that you may not appreciate if you have never watched the series though you will most likely be familiar with the whiskies on offer.

The gathering of all the houses and characters in the last season of the series very much provides a good backdrop for the release of the eight Game of Thrones-themed whiskies from Diageo. Partnering with HBO, Diageo has released eight different whiskies from eight different distilleries in Diageo’s portfolio. Each of the eight distillers represents the Great Houses of Westeros as well as the band of army that have sworn an oath to protect the northern Wall.

Locally, in Australia, we will see only seven out of the eight whiskies with House Tyrell (Clyenish) being noticeably absent from the local release due to a rumoured potential trademark issue that Diageo wanted to avoid, notable with Tyrrell Wines. Nevertheless, the House Tyrell release is widely available outside Australia. As with the others, they are all now available from major liquor retailers nationwide including some Costco outlets though quantity is diminishing rather quickly.


The relationship between the different distilleries to the House they represent has been based on characteristics and similarities. There is no real science behind the relationship other than from similarities between where the different Houses are located in Westeros as compared to where the distillery's geographical location is, in the real world together with notable known characteristics. I have included details on the relationship between the houses and the whiskies below.

For example, The Game of Thrones House Targaryen - Cardhu Gold Reserve is fuelled by the fiery spirit of the fierce female leadership of Daenerys Targaryen, celebrating legendary women and their unwavering perseverance. This was inspired by Helen Cumming and her daughter in law, Elizabeth who have pioneered The Cardhu Distillery during the 1800s, a time when the whisky industry was almost entirely male-dominated.

 

Similarly, the royal lineage drives the iconic pairing for the Game of Thrones House Baratheon - Royal Lochnagar 12yo. 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.

Now a bit more on the whiskies themselves, six of the releases are actually new bottlings, released for the series with the residual two, being Cardhu and Royal Lochnagar, a rebadge of Cardhu Gold Reserve and Royal Lochnagar 12yo respectively.

I attended the local launch of the Diageo Game of Thrones Single Malt Whisky Collection launch at Mjølner earlier this month. The launch was as exciting as seeing the Stark kids finally getting back together again and if you've been to Mjølner, you can appreciate the selection of the venue for the launch with its nomadic feel.

The launch saw different Houses represented across different stations with each of the Game of Thrones whisky matched up with excellent canapes, as prepared by Mjølner. Personally, the highlights from the night were the pairing between the House of Lannister - Lagavulin 9yo and the Mini Bone Marrow Brulee Chocolate as well as the pairing between the Night's Watch - Oban and the chicken parfait. Yes, you read right, Mjølner has outdone itself by transforming one of their signature dish, bone marrow into an extravagant, decadent and super-rich dessert. A fine pairing it was. As with the latter, I'm always a sucker for a good parfait and the briny, coastal and oilyness of the Oban release worked a treat with the parfait.

 

Other pairings on the night include House of Baratheon - Royal Lachnagar with Venison, House of Targaryen - Cardhu with Duck Ham, Horseradish and Seeded Pear, House Tully - The Singleton with Cured Ocean Trout, Salmon Skin and Creme Fraiche and House of Greyjoy - Talisker with Garnished Rock Oysters.

 


There were also three cocktails on offer on the night and something you can try to spin up at home as you devour each episode. The three cocktails on offer were:

  • Wrong Cider The Wall; Dalwhinnie mixed up with spiced mulled house cider with mead, apple, pear & spices. This was served warm and will prove delicious as we approach the colder months.
  • The Drowned God; Talisker mixed with manzanilla sherry, white pepper and salted syrup. Served over a block of ice. This was a personal favourite and embodied a briny and coastal profile, most likely from the Talisker base.
  • Lion of Lannister; Lagavulin 9yo, mixed with amontillado sherry, caramelised banana and cacao nib syrup and finished with some chocolate bitters.


Now I didn't actually sat down with all the whiskies and tasted them side by side with notes as there were far too many of them and it was also difficult on the night with the setup though I've included the official description for each of the seven whiskies that are available locally below. Personally, of the seven, the highlights were the Lagavulin (Lannister), Oban (Night's Watch) and I'm always a big fan of Dalwhinnie (Stark).
  • Game of Thrones House Lannister – Lagavulin 9yo 700mL (46% ABV, 9yo, Islay, Scotland, A$130)

    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.
  • Game of Thrones House Greyjoy – Talisker Select Reserve 700mL (45.8% ABV, NAS, Islay, Scotland, A$99.99)

    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 results of its wave-battered shores. This liquid is an intense smoky single malt Scotch with spicy, powerful and sweet elements combined with maritime flavours.
  • Game of Thrones House Tully – The Singleton of Glendullan Select 700mL (40% ABV, NAS, Highlands, Scotland, A$99.99)

    House Tully, located at River run, 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 flowed through the land, utilising a water wheel to power the entire distillery.
  • Game of Thrones House Stark – Dalwhinnie Winter's Frost 700mL (43% ABV, NAS, Highlands, Scotland, A$99.99)

    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 the highest distillery 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 flavour.
  • Game of Thrones House Targaryen – Cardhu Gold Reserve 700mL (40% ABV, NAS, Speyside, Scotland, A$99.99)

    As noted above, fuelled by the fiery spirit of the fierce female leadership of Daenerys Targaryen, celebrating legendary women and their unwavering perseverance. This was inspired by Helen Cumming and her daughter in law, Elizabeth who have pioneered The Cardhu Distillery during the 1800s, a time when the whisky industry was almost entirely male-dominated.
  • Game of Thrones House Targaryen – House Baratheon – Royal Lochnagar 12yo 700mL (40% ABV, 12yo, Highlands, Scotland, A$130)

    The royal lineage drives the iconic pairing between the House Baratheon and Royal Lochnagar. Balanced with delicate fruits and spices, this taste of royalty is best served neat.
  • Game of Thrones The Night’s Watch – Oban Bay Reserve 700mL (43% ABV, NAS, Highlands, Scotland, A$130)

    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.


All seven whiskies are now available to purchase (assuming quantity is still there) from liquor stores nationwide. For more information on The Game of Thrones Collection Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection, visit www.malts.com and join the conversation using #GOTSingleMalts.

Thanks to Joanna and Sarah of Leo Burnett and Diageo for having us at the launch event and for providing us with the opportunity to preview all the whiskies.

Cheers
Hendy

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