A Game of Whiskies

Winter is here… well almost. The highly anticipated final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, is only a few days to release and the fan furore is not one that brands have taken for granted. Merchandising the popular shows to bolster sales has become a regular practice.

On Wednesday night, Kenya became the second country in the world to officially launch the limited edition of White Walker by Johnnie Walker after South Africa.

“In celebration of the eighth and final season of the critically-acclaimed TV series, Game of Thrones, Diageo and HBO have released a limited-edition from the Diageo Scotch portfolio inspired by the show, White Walker by Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky,” said Annjoy Muhoro, head of spirits, Kenya Breweries Limited.

The blend specially created for this limited release features Cardhu and Clynelish, one of Scotland’s most northern distilleries, at its heart, along with other malt and grain whiskies.

“White Walker by Johnnie Walker has been inspired by the most enigmatic and feared characters on the show—the White Walkers. That’s why it has been prepared using two new single malts blends, Cardhu and Clynelish. These two new blends are made from one of the Scotland’s northern distilleries where whiskies have endured long Scottish winters, not dissimilar to the climate north of the wall,” she explains.

Clynelish is a name with a long history, which has adorned the labels of whisky bottles for more than 200 years. It is produced in the northern highland region and is known for fruity, slightly smoky and sea-spicy flavour profile.

The Cardhu distillery is located on hills in the north side of the Spey Valley with delightful views to the South. The malts of Cardhu are known for being smooth, sweet, mellow and elegant in character.

Johnnie Walker blender George Harper used the Frozen North as his inspiration for creating the liquid noting that, “Whiskies from Clynelish have endured long, Scottish winters, not dissimilar to the climate north of the wall—so it was the perfect place to start when creating this unique whisky.”

On first whiff, the drink leans towards sweet with a citrus undertone. The usual woody, smoky notes that you would find in say a Johnnie Walker Black are not as pronounced in this blend, showing its uniqueness.

The taste on the tongue first hits the sweet notes of vanilla with a hint of caramel before the berry notes come through. It holds its tasting notes even with multiple ice cubes tossed in the drink.

“White Walker features notes of caramelised sugar, vanilla, and fresh red berries with a touch of orchard fruit. While it’s best served cold directly from the freezer, this whisky also develops wonderful complexity as it warms to room temperature,” says Annjoy.

Each year, Johnnie Walker releases a special limited drinks available in a limited number of bottles for a set time period making them perfect for collectors.

“This rare offering celebrates the unique element of the TV show, serving as the must-have collection for Games of Thrones and whisky fans to enjoy as anticipation builds towards the final season – which will première on April 14, 2019,” says Annjoy.

The bottle is crafted in ode to the world beyond the wall. Icy snow reminiscent of the Night King’s kingdom. And when you pop the bottle in the freezer, a message from Johnnie Walker becomes visible.

As another ode to the storyline of Game of Thrones, the whisky has a 41.7 per cent alcohol by volume, 1.7 per cent higher than a regular Johnnie Walker, because there is only one throne for the seven kingdoms of Westeros.

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