And you thought I was done reviewing defunct Game of Thrones editions of Diageo whiskies. Hah! Long-time readers of this blog will know that if I find a closeout deal on a bottle, you all have to put up with me reviewing it. Today will be a double header, with two of the Game of Thrones editions of Johnnie Walker: Song of Ice and White Walker. I didn’t get a bottle of Song of Fire, but I’d assume it’s just a little smokier than these two.
Song of Ice is a slight tweak to the generic Johnnie Walker formula. Since the goal was to play off of the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones series, I doubt the flavor of the whisky had much to do with it. Rumor suggests this version has a little less peated scotch and a little more Clynelish. For an excellent rundown on the contents of various Johnnie blends, see Driscoll’s blog.
For some reason, this stuff is bottled at 40.2% ABV. I’m sure there’s some marketing reason tied to that number, but it can’t possibly affect the flavor of the whisky so I’m not going to bother to look it up.
I snagged this bottle for $16, but it retails for closer to $35 – $45. If you pay attention you can probably find a closeout like I did, when stock starts to run low. Just like with the Game of Thrones malts, Diageo would prefer these things disappear since they just simply made too many bottles.
Nose: Pretty standard Johnnie-style grain whisky nose, with hay, light honey, and a little too much nail-polish remover to ignore. A rest in the glass brings out a slight coconut note, and a round, waxy note of something like Macadamia nuts, which has to be from the Clynelish. These pleasant changes are very faint, however, the dominant note is still paint thinner.
Palate: Medium bodied, verging on thin. Coconut for sure, along with standards like hay, sugar-cookie, light honey, and – you guessed it – nail-polish remover.
Finish: Short. The coconut note seems to concentrate as the experience progresses, which is nice. The finish is slightly drying, without much bitterness, or much in the way of tannin. Fades quickly without evolving. The finish seems to be the most pleasant part of this dram.
With Water: Water seems to mute the aroma, initially, so I let it sit for a few minutes. The aroma becomes crisper – lime seltzer? – but no other new notes, and the whole is still muted. The palate seems thinner, but the finish is livelier, again with a lime or lime-peel note. Water is not necessary here.
Overall: Other than the pleasant coconut note and inoffensive finish, I can’t say that there’s much to recommend this over any other Johnnie Walker release. I don’t detect any peat at all, so if you dislike the Black for that reason, you might be interested in this… at least if you can find it on sale. Don’t pay $35 for it.