A 30-second promotional video from Johnnie Walker for the new White Walker by Johnnie Walker scotch blend, inspired by the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV series.
HBO & Diageo
Whisky is coming.
Fans of “Game of Thrones” may have to wait until sometime in 2019 to see the final season of the wildly popular HBO fantasy series. But, in the meantime, they can drown their sorrows on some scotch whiskies.
The limited edition lineup is inspired by the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, where the saga takes place, and the prominent families in the TV series.
Liquor giant Diageo has a special Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky called The White Walker by Johnnie Walker (out Monday, $36) and a collection of single malt scotches, coming in November.
The White Walker, a blend from two single malt scotches from Cardhu and Clynelish distilleries in northern Scotland, is meant to be served cold. When put in a freezer, the iconic 750-milliliter bottle’s white and blue thermochromic ink will glow, a nod to the phosphorescent radiance emitted by the eyes of the show’s villainous white walkers.
Northern Scotland faces “fierce and long winters, which then impacts the liquid that went into the White Walker,” said Dan Sanborn, senior vice president of culture and partnerships at Diageo. “We really went to painstaking detail to match that white walker feeling and energy it evokes with the liquid and the scotches that we put in the bottle.”
Each of the eight Game of Thrones single malt whiskies is crafted by a different Diageo-owned Scottish distiller; seven are inspired by the family Houses of Westeros and another by the Night’s Watch (prices range from $29.99 to $64.99).
HBO is teaming with liquor giant Diageo, which owns Johnnie Walker whisky, on a special Johnnie Walker scotch and a collection of eight single malt scotches named after the families in the hit series. Among the single malts, due to be released this fall, is this House Targaryen Cardhu Gold Reserve, suggested price of $39.99. (Photo: HBO & Diageo)
The House Targaryen scotch ($39.99), which promises hints of clove and red apple, was made by the Cardhu Distillery. Two women (Helen Cumming and daughter-in-law Elizabeth) figure prominently in the northeastern Scotland distillery’s history.
At that time in the early 1800s, the industry was “almost entirely dominated by males,” Sanborn said. “We really wanted to bring the spirit of Daenerys Targaryen” (a character known as the Mother of Dragons) to the scotch, he said.
Other single malts in the collection include the House Lannister scotch ($64.99), a 9-year-aged scotch from Lagavulin, and the House Stark Winter’s Frost scotch from Dalwhinnie ($39.99), one of the highest-situated distilleries in Scotland.
“It’s cold and remote much like Winterfell (the home of the Starks),” Sanborn said. “We really wanted to have a whisky and a region that also matched the value of each house.”
The White Walker blend and the single malts are new to the U.S.; two of the single malts – Cardhu’s House Targaryen and Royal Lochnagar’s 12-year-old House Baratheon scotches – have been sold as Game of Thrones’ whiskies in select global markets.
“By and large, these are all very unique releases that are limited; once they are out, they are out,” Sanborn said.
This isn’t the first boozy endeavor for the brand, which has won the Emmy for outstanding drama three times. Brewery Ommegang released an official line of “Game of Thrones” beers, with the latest called King in the North, due Nov. 23, and there also have been wines released under the “Game of Thrones” label.
The latest beer in HBO and Brewery Ommegang’s Game of Thrones series, King in the North is scheduled to be released Nov. 23. The barrel-aged imperial stout has a suggested retail price of $12.99. (Photo: HBO & Brewery Ommegang)
Beer and wine have played prominent roles in “Game of Thrones,” with Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) being fond of both. Wine has played the role in at least two characters’ deaths. But scotch and whisky has not been served at the forefront in the tales.
Instead, these whiskies are meant to add spirit to fans’ treasuring of the show itself. ” ‘Game of Thrones’ tends to be a social show. A lot of people get together to watch it and talk about it,” HBO Vice President of Licensing and Retail Jeff Peters said. “This is something for the fans to enjoy during celebratory viewings of the show.”
And, perhaps, help the year or so until the final episodes go down a bit smoother.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.
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