It had now been 3 years since peace had returned to the seven Scottish crowns with the acclamation of the young Brandon Stark. And it had been two months since I left Winterfeld with John s. (For anonymity) who was to be my guide to the northern Highlands territories. I had in mind to taste all the distillates of the kingdom. There were those of the families still in place but also those who had fallen. Many beautiful things.
In our adventure, which was much less dangerous than the war for the Iron Throne, there was one more to try: white Walker (whisky supposedly distilled for decades by white walkers and by diageo - editor's note). However, it may not have been the easiest to find.
As the winter frosts began to be more and more marked, we arrived in Chateaunoir to meet our guide a certain Tormund because only he could guide us through these snow-covered territories from beyond the wall.
The evening before departure was warm by the fire in the castle. My two guides who hadn't seen each other for a long time counted their memories of adventures and love stories (each with a blonde of character...)... we shared the famous Night'S Watch (Oban Bay reserve distilled at the foot of the high cliffs of the wall where it joins the Bay of Seals) and could appreciate its aromas of orange and red fruits.
We got up at dawn wearing warm clothes, and once we passed through the wall gate, we found ourselves in the most striking cold. I imagined what a feeling it must have felt like at a time when such a hike could at any time put you in front of a horde of white walkers. Fortunately now they had disappeared and only thousands of hectolitres of whisky remained from them (which we were looking to test).
We walked several hours to the Crocgivre mountain range in the north of the Thenn territory and finally reached the remote village of Brora and the distillery of Clynelish (point planned for tasting).
The grey stone buildings of the distillery were covered with a thick layer of snow. We had an appointment in the warehouse with a man named Mans?! The character was not very smiling, but he introduced us to the local manufacturing process, which is distilled from melted snow water. He also told us that it was here that the distillate of the extinct Tyrell family was once produced in secret (which I had nevertheless been able to find during my visit to Hautjardin).
The whisky we were interested in today was in front of us on a barrel. It was contained in a white bottle on which a certain Johnnie white Walker could be found (whose blue eyes freeze your blood). But Mans came out of the cellar explaining that the one he wanted us to taste was buried under the snow.
When he returned to the warehouse, he had a slightly different bottle in his hand. She was now strangled with blue veins that were not very encouraging and on her side was written "winter is here".
Here comes the famous Johnnie Walker hit! The liquid that flowed into our glass was golden and deposited a light mist hall in its path. Mans tells us that this must be the way to taste it. Also, given the latter's look we complied (even if at heart the word that came back was "sacrilege!!!!).
Moreover, without making our host understand it too much, the passage of this whisky through the ice was of no interest in terms of smell. It even had a tendency to mask and make all the aromas disappear. There is only a vague smell of sulphur left, which in my opinion came from the time when the distillery dried its barley with the Viserion dragon flame (recovered by the white walkers in Daenerys, so follow -ndlr). In the mouth, this whisky freezes your blood, but the main aromas are also blurred. Only notes of light smoke and a hint of vanilla remain. In any case, there's not much left of it once swallowed.
So I turn to Mans and ask him if it would be possible to taste the bottle on the barrel. While grumbling, he nevertheless accepts and gives me a good drink (as is customary among the savages in the northern territories).
At temperature, the history of this blend, which is the result of a subtle blend of Cardhu (from the Targaryen house) and Clynelish distillates, is no longer the same.
On the nose, the scents of the ice version fade away and give way to pronounced cinnamon aromas (and we are reconciled with what we expect from a whisky - but we won't tell Mans!). When the nose makes a second pass through the glass it is invaded by a sweet smell of raisins and vanilla. It is only at the end that we discover some very light notes of smoke but also of alcohol a little marked despite its "light "41,7 °.
Once in the mouth, the texture is pleasant with a taste of cinnamon but also caramelized vanilla. You could also have some red fruit sensations (like with a sherry but very light). Mans tells us that he noticed a slight note of peat, but it was not the most pronounced.
The finish of this whisky was not very long but it left spicy and vanilla flavours on the palate.
In the end it was a beautiful realization (with a beautiful packaging) but it was not the greatest Johnnie Walker I had had the opportunity to taste even if it was pleasant.
Our tasting was coming to an end and we took leave of our smiling host to head south. When I came out of the warehouse, there was a mirror in which I looked at myself to check the correct positioning of my warm clothes.
My amazement was immense when I realized that my eyes had turned blue and were shining in the darkness....