Weekend Sip: A whisky for ’Game of Thrones’ (and Johnnie Walker) fans

Personal Finance


The bottle: White Walker by Johnnie Walker, $36

The back story: It may be months before the next (and final) season of “Game of Thrones” airs. But while you’re waiting for the Emmy-winning HBO series to return, the folks at the blended whisky brand Johnnie Walker have a way for you to bide some of your time.

Namely, drink up.

Specifically, they have released a new “color” in the Walker line, a limited-edition White that is ideally meant to be served as chilled as possible (think straight from the freezer). The idea is to honor the characters from the show known as the White Walkers and to connect to the series’ icy northern setting.

In addition to the White release, Diageo, the sprits giant behind Johnnie Walker, has also come out with a limited-edition “Game of Thrones” Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection with eight different bottles in all.

The real idea behind this, of course, is to sell some whisky. While Johnnie Walker has hardly been slumping – the brand’s sales increased by 5% last year, according to the latest Diageo annual report – brand executives say they are trying to focus on creative ways and commercial tie-ins to draw attention to the label. For example, in 2017, Johnnie Walker released the Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut in connection with the “Blade Runner 2049” film.

“There is great interest in unique product innovation brought to life through culturally relevant partnerships,” says Dan Sanborn, a Diageo senior vice president.

What we think about it: We’re inclined to be a bit cynical about commercial tie-ins, especially for a beloved brand of Scotch that can seemingly stand on its own in its many different “color” editions (if you can ever splurge for the pricey Blue, go for it). But the good thing about White Walker is that it’s good no matter what.

This is a very drinkable Johnnie, perhaps targeted for those who don’t like – or don’t know – traditional Scotch. It’s got none of the hints of smoke or the sea often associated with the whisky, but offers a pleasing mouthful of almost sweet flavors. The brand says you should pick up “notes of caramelized sugar and vanilla, fresh red berries with a touch of orchard fruit.”

How to enjoy it: As mentioned, the Walker team says to keep this one in the icebox (and if you do, you’ll be rewarded with an “icy reveal” on the bottle). But this is also fine with a couple of cubes or even neat. As for cocktails, the brand suggests a few signature cocktails, such as the Night’s King Sour with Blue Curacao, vanilla syrup and lemon juice, among other ingredients.

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Charles Passy is a Wall Street Journal reporter and frequent MarketWatch contributor based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @CharlesPassy.

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