Hej kompisar, idag, låt oss granska ett svenskt whisky!
Translated that says, “hello friends, today, let’s review a Swedish whisky! ” Yes, let’s do that!! Mackmyra is another “world whisky” that shows us just how far the world-wide whisky expansion has reached!
Mackmyra Special 06, Summer Meadow (Sommaräng in Swedish) Single Malt whisky is the 6th release in the distillery’s Special” Range. According to their website, Summer Meadow was matured in several different cask types and in a mix of casks of varying sizes, ranging from 30 to 200 litres and then aged in Mackmyra’s warehouse on Fjäderholmarna island, in midst of the Swedish archipelago. Released summer 2011, the whisky is bottled at a respectable 46.8% abv and with no chill-filtering and no coloring added!
A little background about the distillery and its creation. The idea for a Swedish whisky arose during a ski trip in 1998 by a group of eight friends who were all students at the Royal Institute of Technology. Apparently these friends were not ones to just sit around and cogitate on an idea because things moved very swiftly from the germination of the idea in 1998, to having the distillery legally established in 1999, and then, by 2002, having a distillery built in the old mill and power station at Mackmyra, about a two hour drive from Stockholm.
Production moved quickly, too. After experimenting with a number of different recipes, the first distilled spirits were produced in October 2002 and in February 2006 Mackmyra released its first limited edition single malt whisky, Preludium 01, which promptly sold out in less than 20 minutes!
Mackmyra is truly a Swedish whisky. All of the ingredients come from sources within 75 miles of the distillery, except for the yeast, which comes from Rotebro. The peat is from a local bog near Österfärnebo, and the distillery uses barley from Dalarna and Strömsta Manor in Enköping. Mackmyra ages their spirits in four different cask types: bourbon, sherry, Swedish oak and in a special signature cask made from a combination of classic American bourbon casks and Swedish oak. Uniquely, Mackmyra uses the disused Bodås Mine in Hofors for maturing most of their whiskies; although they have since added a number of other warehouse sites around Sweden. And all Mackmyra whiskies are produced and bottled without the addition of e150a color, without additives, and are non-chill filtered….natural whisky!
Since their initial release, Mackmyra has continued to experiment and produce unique whiskies. They have issued a series of “Special” releases, running from 04 through 10; a series of three “Seasons” whiskies; and a number of single cask, limited release “Moment” whiskies, which first hit the market in December 2010 with the release of Medvind and Urberg.
In addition to whisky, Mackmyra also produces “Vithund”, which is Swedish for White Dog, and it is their unaged whisky distillate, and “Bee” which is a liqueur made with whisky. Swedish vodka and organic honey.
All this early success didn’t’ go unnoticed, either. In 2012 Mackmyra was named the IWSC’s European distiller of the year!
Along with their experimentation, sales growth, and general success, Mackmyra also built a brand new distillery in a very interesting style (see photo at right). A tall, narrow, modern concrete and glass structure, the building is designed to utilize gravity throughout the distilling process. The malted barley is stored in exterior silos and then transported to the top floors via an elevator where it is mashed, and then it works its way down through the building as it undergoes the various stages, fermentation, distillation, and then casking of the whisky. The glass front serves to provide light, allows visitors to view the process, and yet, because the glass wall is angled, it avoids unnecessary (and unwanted) solar heat.
Review: Mackmyra Special:06 Summer Meadow Single Malt Whisky
Color: diluted white wine – very pale.
Nose: The nose is full of ripe, fresh orchard fruits – green apples, pears, and apricots. And it is quite floral, at the same time, with a subtle fresh hay note and, surprisingly, something reminiscent of an unlit charcoal briquette. There is a menthol or eucalyptus note which adds an aromatic sharpness – or perhaps a light piney peat. Something softly mineral – almost metallic comes up, oaky sawdust, and just a delicate hint of vanilla. Water kicks the fruits up even further, even getting some white raisins, now. It also brings out a subtle herbal spice note.
Taste: Starts with vanilla, green apples and pears, sugary lemon candies. This has a delicate oily viscosity on the tongue. Honey, a soft bready note, grows more citric. The fruits return for a nice encore. Soft tannins. With water, the arrival is even sweeter. Buttery soft on the palate. The ripe orchard fruits and delicate vanilla work very well with the softly floral and earthy notes. Less of the pine/eucalyptus notes.
Finish: Sweet fruits, lemon-honey, sugary, and soft herbal spices. Delicate tannins leading to an elegantly tannic, drying and slightly bittersweet ending. Good length on the finish.
Overall: I have to say, this is a very nice whisky, and turned out to be a wonderful surprise. While I’d read about Mackmyra on various blogs, and most reviews were positive, I really didn’t know what to expect, so this purchase was a bit of a gamble….but I am glad I did! The nose is fresh and crisp, with beautiful fresh fruits and delicate grassy and piney notes….and the taste lives up to the promise of the aromas. I have to admit that at the initial tasting of the newly-opened bottle, while this was very good, coming back to it now proves that is had been a bit tight. Now, with the bottle having been open for a while, this one has blossomed into an extremely engaging and enjoyable whisky – well worth having to order it from the UK and shipped over! The downside is that now I need to order another bottle of Mackmyra to see how they’ve progressed with their other releases! (I know, not really that much of a downside, is it!!!?)
Sadly, at least so far, Mackmyra is unavailable in the US due to the fact that they release only 70cl bottles (US regulations require spirits be sold in 750 ml bottles) so acquiring a bottle can be a bit of a challenge. This bottle is one I ordered from Master of Malt (UK-based internet retailer) a few years ago and had shipped to me. I will put in a plug for MoM, their service is excellent and all of my whisky orders have reached my doorstep in a matter of just days from the time I placed the order!
Distillery: Mackmyra, Sweden
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (released 2011)
Maturation: mix of ex-Bourbon and refill Sherry casks
Price: $106 (in 2014)
Availability: Unavailable in US
Sample Source: My own bottle
Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014, Ingvar Ronde, MagDig Media, Ltd.