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Johnnie Walker A Song of Fire

Review: Johnnie Walker A Song of Fire   85.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published February 02, 2020

In 2018, to celebrate the final season of the critically-acclaimed HBO series, Game of Thrones; Johnnie Walker began to introduce a series of Game of Thrones themed whiskies. Included in this series was a range of eight single malts whiskies each representing a different house faction from the television series as well as White Walker, inspired by the White Walkers beyond The Wall. These 2018 releases been followed by more releases in 2019 including Johnnie Walker A Song of Fire and Johnny Walker A Song of Ice which were inspired by the two of the remaining powerful houses of Westeros, House Stark (A song of Ice) and House Targaryen (A Song of Fire). They serve as successors to the 2018 release White Walker.

Johnnie Walker, A Song of Fire features the subtle smoke of peated malts from the Caol Ila distillery. The smoky flavours within the malt are an homage to the Dragons of House Targaryen. The whisky is labeled as a blend which means that although the Caol Ila Distillery is the featured single malt within the whisky, other whiskies both grain and single malt will also be included in the blend.

Johnnie Walker A song of Fire is bottled at 40.8 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle  4.5/5

I will admit I got excited when I saw the Johnnie Walker Song of Fire whisky in the local liquor shop just before Christmas. I have been enjoying the Game of Thrones Television Series for several years now, and the idea of a whisky blend based upon the House Targaryen appealed to my sense of whisky adventure.

The red toned bottle featuring a sigil of a dragon is stunning and what a great touch using the iconic Johnnie Walker ‘walking man’ logo as a White Walker.

The only disappointment is in the pressed on metallic cap closure which diminishes the impact of the bottle presentation.

In the Glass 8.5/10

I was quite surprised (being that Caol Illa malt features so prominently in the advertising) that the aroma of smokey peat did not fill my glass once it was poured. Perhaps the Dragon was holding its breathe. Not that the peat is absent, I was just expecting a full blow of Caol Ila. I suspect a good part of the blend was non-peated whisky. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing.)

The breezes do bring me hints of ashy smoke combined with mild sherry-like bits of raisin and dates, however,these effects are subtle rather than forward. Leathery notes are apparent with vanilla and baking spices as well as the light sweetness of caramelized brown sugar. Sweetness in the form of marmalade and apricot jam is present as well.

All of these scents and smells are melded quite well together. The whisky has obviously been blended to please a rather large variety of palates, and not just to please the lovers of peat.

In the Mouth 51/60

Again the peat is not omnipresent as we would expect from a dragon breathing Caol Ila Whisky; and as indicated this makes the blend more approachable. What peat there is, is melded with light sherry-like flavours of raisin and date (even a little chocolate). There is also a leathery impression of malt barley as well combined impressions of butterscotch, orange peel, grain spice and baking spice (vanilla, hints of clove and cinnamon). It is quite easy and enjoyable to sip.

I mixed two cocktails, an Old Fashioned Whisky Cocktail, and a Presbyterian. The Old Fashioned was even more enjoyable than sipping; however for myself and the mood I was in, the Presbyterian Cocktail suited the Song of Fire whisky the best (see recipe below).

In The Throat  13/15

The medium bodied whisky has a mid-length finish which was smooth and enjoyable. The exit flavours include leather, baking spice, sharp orange peel and some lightly smoky peat and sherry influence.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Johnnie Walker A Song of Fire was much better than I had been led to believe when reading other reviews. It seems to sit somewhat above Johnnie Walker Red in terms of balance and character, and would certainly be a whisky I would serve to good friends. In fact, I did, and we all enjoyed ourselves!

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe:

The Presbyterian Cocktail is a simple serving which mixes just three ingredients: whisky, ginger ale, and soda water. There is no specific IBA (International Bartenders Association) formulation, and this means that many variations of the bar drink exist sometimes with extra ingredients such as lemon or lime juice. The cocktail appears to have originated in North America; however, because the Presbyterian Church is so strongly tied to Scotland (the National Church of Scotland follows a Presbyterian ecclesiastical polity), it has become commonplace to serve the cocktail with Scottish Whisky.

Of course the Presbyterian religion holds no standing in the Seven Kingdoms, and a more suitable name for the Song of Fire serving must be found. In this case the name must have an association with the Valyrian people represented by House Targaryen. The reference I chose is somewhat obscure, but avid fans of the series should be able to divine the meaning. (I added a touch of Bitters to separate the serving just a little from the common Presbyterian.)

The Black Goat

2 oz Johnnie Walker A Song of Fire
1 1/2 oz Ginger Ale
1 1/2 oz Club Soda
Dash of Bitters
Ice

Add Ice to a rocks glass
Pour Scotch Whisky over the ice
Add Ginger Ale and Club Soda and stir

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 
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