If you are a fan of the awesome Game of Thrones series, I guess you just have to try this bottle, no? The idea and packaging look great, the timing is a bit off though. The last season of GOT aired over a year ago and the final season is only for next year. Look at it this way: Johnnie Walker keeps us interested while we wait, with this special White Walker edition at 41.7%. The bottle carries the recommendation to pour it from the freezer, so that’s what we’ll do, but in the meantime, I’ll also pour a glass from the shelf. Because cooling whisky is really not my thing. Remember Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold or The Snow Grouse? Not my cuppa.
The nose… err… wait for it… err… what nose? I smell nothing! This reminds me of a vodka, actually. Only after a few moments – perhaps that’s the ice reveal mentioned on the label? – I get lots of grain whisky with that typical chemical sweetness and a truckload of caramel and vanilla. Nothing else happens. Quite a disappointment.
It’s icy cold (doh!), but quite fat. I like that mouth feel, but taste wise we back to square one: chemical sweetness, a lot of caramel, vanilla and just a tiny bit of fruit. Think banana and mango. Luckily some spices kick in to give it some life. But again, this is more a vodka than a whisky, in my book. Pity.
There is hardly any finish at this low temperature. Sweet and spicy, but very short.
At room temperature the nose is much more expressive. That does not mean it is much better. The aromas are just larger, but more of the same. Although I do get some pleasant notes of red berries, mango and gooseberries, while the sweetness of the grain is a lot less dominant. Caramel and vanilla abound though. The chemical sweetness is barely there anymore, which is a good thing. A fresh mentholated note rounds things out. Much better, but still far from grand.
Quite oily, but no longer fat. That’s ok. This is much rounder and spicier (more outspoken on cinnamon, cloves and a pinch of pepper), but I cannot really call this fruity. Sweet, sure, but only from caramel and vanilla. Hint of chocolate, if you use your imagination and work hard at it.
The finish is medium long, but quickly turns back to that typical grain whisky sweetness.
I am baffled as to why it is recommended to serve this from the freezer, for it tastes very poor then. At room temperature I find it to be okay-ish, but far from grand. And the ‘icy reveal’ is nothing more than the text ‘Winter is here’ that appears on the side of the bottle when cooled, thanks to the use of thermochromatic ink on the label. Around 40 EUR. Nice collectors’ item, but nothing more. Probably just enough to warm the Night’s Watch…