October 2021 - Mackmyra Visit
For October we had a very special tasting, Richard from Mackmyra visited the club, along with 5 different whiskies from their range, plus Eddie had sourced a recommendation as an extra treat to make for 6 different whiskies to taste! Ambitious for a school night but we were happy to oblige…
We opened with a potted history of Mackmyra, as well as Rich informing us that tastings are very important to Mackmyra - being a smaller producer and not necessarily something that has mainstream appeal or the first thing a whisky drinker would reach for when purchasing, along with the fact that they are non age statement whiskies (NAS). Being outside of Scotland gives them a wider remit to dabble in different techniques, as there are certain experimental or innovative processes that wouldn’t wash with the SWA, but create a large part of how Mackmyra operate.
The distillery is quintessentially Swedish, and some ‘Svensk Ek’ (Swedish Oak) is included within every expression - usually about 10% as the nature of the wood imparts a very different flavour to the traditional American or even European oak that we are more accustomed to. A 100% expression of Swedish oak is by all accounts pretty unpleasant! But as a smaller percentage it imparts a very unique flavour.
One of the notable innovations is that they moved to a bespoke building that harnesses the power of gravity to flow the whisky through the various stages of distillation. This uses 45% less energy than their previous distillery did! It also runs on biofuel and recirculates the heat produced to ensure maximum efficiency.
1. Mackmyra Svensk Ek
(70cl, 46.1% vol)
The first whisky we tried is Mackmyra’s flagship whisky - Svensk Ek (Swedish Oak). At this point Rich gave us a tip to angle the Glencairn, and the to nose the top of the glass before the bottom - this helps detect the lighter notes and subdues any heavy ethanol aromas that supposedly sit at the bottom.
Svensk Ek has 10% of the spirit aged in virgin Swedish Oak for the last 18 months of it’s ageing, really showcasing the unique flavour that the Swedish Oak imparts on the spirit.
On the nose we got: Ginger, light spices, white peppery smell, sweet caramel and pine.
On the palate: Bitter and spicy, warming, tannin prevalent but a nice balance.
Finally a spicy warm finish.
Comes in at £52 direct from Mackmyra.
2. Mackmyra Vintersol
(70cl, 46.1% vol)
Next up was Vintersol (Winter Sun) which has been finished in Port wood casks in collaboration with the Port wine producer Quinta Do Vallado.
On the nose we detected the port straight away, with dark chocolate, deep red fruits, dried cranberries and deep caramel. There was a subtle almond note as well as a metallic tinge.
On the palate more of the almond coming through, plus caramel and buttery pastry.
On the finish, dried fruits and a slightly fruity, spicy flavour trailed off.
£62 (Mackmyra) - Now sold out direct.
3. Mackmyra Moment Karibien
(70cl, 44.4% vol)
The Moment range is Mackmyra’s top range, which are limited editions based on that ‘moment’ when Mackmyra's Master Blender, Angela D’Orazio visits the Bodås mine - where a large number of their casks are racked to age due to the climactic conditions being favourable. She will select a cask that stands out to then release as a single cask or in combination with some others, to create a short run whisky that really showcases the distillery.
This particular one is a rum cask, with 75% of the liquid being finished in rum casks, hence the name Karibien (Caribbean).
The nose was unsurprisingly representative of this! Sweet, brown sugar, tarte tatin, banana fritters, cinnamon and pear drops, rhubarb and custard sweets.
On the palate, tart pineapple, coupled with Demerara eliminating any bitterness, the rum influence is very prevalent.
The finish was long and pleasant, easy with a balanced sweetness, lingering brown sugars.
Another interesting note of the moment range is that the metal plaque is removable to keep as a memento so that the bottle can be recycled, not only this, the band is made from recycled bicycle inner tubes and the stopper from bike tyres, wood from the barrels and metal from the band of the barrels!
This was the most popular up to this point in the night with wide plaudits from the club members.
4. Mackmyra Vinterglöd
(70cl, 46.1% vol)
This expression; Vinterglöd (Winter glow) has been finished in casks that previously contained sherry, then mulled wine to season in Mackmyra’s typical fashion. This one created a lot of excitement with the concept, however the mulled wine focus seemed to subvert our expectations, as it was a much more herbaceous and botanical experience than a lot of us were expecting.
Nose: Winter spices, vegetal, herbal aroma
Palate: Even heavier herbal flavours, Jägermeister, menthol and an oily mouthfeel
Finish: Big cloves
With water it opens up to allow raisins into the picture, along with fennel/aniseed on throughout the tasting.
As stated, it was quite a divisive expression, with some loving the herbal notes, but others not so keen.
5. The Whiskey Cellar Mackmyra Easy Sipper 8yo
(70cl, 49.5% vol)
This was sourced by Eddie on Rich’s recommendation, for another Mackmyra that would compliment the evening well. This was from independent bottler ‘The Whiskey Cellar’ and is from casks filled in 2013. Although the packaging was very polar, some feeling it cheapened the whisky inside, others thought it was a great bit of fun and enjoyed the light take on what is usually a fairly dry and traditional packaging industry.
Nose: “Oh my God butterscotch!”, deep toffee, custard, syrup sponge, rich red apples.
Palate: Apple jacks, deeper subtle leathery notes, toffee apple.
Finish: Buttery fruit
This whisky was widely appreciated and really shows that the core spirit of Mackmyra has a fantastic profile, which can be developed into a fruity, caramelised treat!
£60 (Aberdeen Whisky Shop - online)
6. Mackmyra Stjärnrök
(70cl, 46.1% vol)
Tonight’s only peated expression, Stjärnrök (Star smoke) which comprises of a mixture of Mackmyra’s different innovations and techniques. Firstly there is the ‘heavy smokey’ component, which is made to a really high PPM, then treated like a ‘peat cordial’ to mix with the unpeated elements to create the perfect level. It also includes their standard smokey expression, as well as some of their ‘smokey tail’ another creation which is from casking their core spirit in a cask that previously contained one of their smokier creations. This creates a subtle smokeiness which they are particularly proud of.
Nose: We got plenty of smoke and peat, a grassy aroma including grass clippings. Also juniper notes which comes from the juniper branches used to impart the smoke to their whiskies.
Palate: Smoke forward, spicy fruit, vegetal with caramel and a hint of citrus.
Finish: More smoke (not too heavy) combined beautifully with the fruitiness.
Another popular whisky on the night, those who aren’t keen on peat appreciated the delicateness of this expression, while those that typically enjoy it anyway were thrilled to experience something peated in a slightly different style.
Overall an absolutely fantastic selection and night, Rich was an excellent host, who we hope to be able to welcome again in the future! Really opened our eyes to what Swedish whisky is all about and was fantastic to hear some slightly unorthodox takes on our passion.