When Game of Thrones concludes this year, it brings to an end eight years of murder, betrayal, incest, war, familial feuding, confusing tree people and castration. Not surprising that those of us invested in the machinations of Westeros feel like we need a good, strong drink.
It's fortuitous, then, the Games of Thrones single-malt scotch whisky collection launches in Australia this week. Seven whisky distilleries across the UK have come together to create a collection of inebriants, each representing one of Westeros's major houses (plus one for the besieged Night's Watch).
Our Scotch-loving, GoT-obsessed reporter Tristan Lutze tested all of the single malts, and miraculously survived the episode.
House Tully: The Singleton of Glendullan Select
In ruins after a series of invasions and the events of the infamous Red Wedding, few are more deserving of a glass of whisky than those in House Tully. Although pleasantly sweet, with softened hints of spiced baked apple, it also seems slightly watery. Fitting, perhaps, for the House that oversaw Westeros's River Lands.
House Greyjoy: Talisker Select Reserve
Like the Greyjoy's Iron Islands, Talisker's dominion is beset by water – it's the only distillery on the Scottish island of Skye. The resulting whisky has notes of Sichuan pepper, a pleasant smokiness and a natural saltiness. In short, it's delicious but it probably won't take your mind off being castrated by the psychotic Ramsay Snow.
House Stark: Dalwhinnie Winter's Frost
There's no season better suited for a dram of whisky than winter, so it's nice to know that it's on its way. This aromatic honey-scented drop leaves a hint of smoke on the palate, perhaps in a nod to this season's upcoming Battle of Winterfell. While I still haven't recovered from Ned Stark losing his head, the whisky is beginning to go to mine.
House Baratheon: Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old
A delicious whisky, this one, with rich cake and butter notes befitting the hedonistic late king. There's a slightly bitter aftertaste, though it's hard to tell if it's separate to the bitterness I still feel toward that whole relationship between Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister.
House Lannister: Lagavulin 9 Year Old
Lagavulin is one of the most legendary names in Scottish whisky. And while the Lannisters are, by and large, a group of irredeemably vile monsters that deserve every bad thing that happens to them, the drink that bears their wretched name is delicious. It's tinged with hints of vanilla, caramel, smoke, and not a hint of the poison that blessedly did in Joffrey.
House Targaryen: Cardhu Gold Reserve
There are two types of people: those who believe Daenerys Targaryen deserves to sit on the Iron Throne, and those who are wrong. Made by a distillery founded by Helen Cumming in the 1800s, this gentle and delicious elixir is more reminiscent of a spiced rum than a traditional Scotch whisky. Nevertheless, even Viserys Targaryen would be happy to have this golden liquid go to his head.
The Night's Watch: Oban Bay Reserve
The double-charred barrels used to make this oaky single malt lend it a rich smokiness and vanilla-infused sweetness, as though a crème caramel had been set alight by an angry dragon. It's just the thing to take the edge off a lifetime's indebted servitude to a lonely battalion of frozen outcasts.
The Game of Thrones whisky collection is on sale at liquor stores nationwide.