Mackmyra distillery was conceived, like so many other good ideas, over a dram. In 2001 eight friends from the Royal Institute for Technology in Stockholm met on a skiing trip, each of them by sheer coincidence taking a bottle of whisky along. The topic of conversation naturally turned to the lack of a whisky industry in their homeland, despite the country appearing to be generously equipped with all one could possibly need for such an undertaking.
Within a year, they had registered a company and extensive planning eventually led to the acquisition in 2002 of an old mill in the village of Mackmyra, outside the city of Gävle. The first Mackmyra whisky was released in 2006 and in 2011, work began on a second distillery in order to bolster the sites production capabilities.
Mackmyra prides itself on the use of local ingredients, with their water coming from a local Esker and Peat cut from the bog at nearby Osterfarnebo. Barley is grown on Swedish land and a large proportion of the spirit is matured in Swedish oak.
The core of the Mackmyra range consists of Brukswhisky, Svensk Ek and Svensk Rök but they also produce limited releases and bottle a white spirit known as ‘Vit Hund’ (White Dog).
*Full Disclosure: I was sent these samples by Alex Johnson of Mackmyra. As always, I will try to remain as impartial as possible in my reviews.
White Dog is a name traditionally used in the US for the clear spirit that comes off a still, only after several years in oak casks does it become the golden liquid we know as whisk(e)y. Vit Hund is the Mackmyra equivalent, a clear spirit made from malted barley that will become whisky after three years in wood. Bottled at 46.1%, a 50cl bottle of Vit Hund will cost around £35.
Smell: Malt & Cereal, Grass, Honey & Berries.
Taste: Blackcurrant, Berries, Bread, Honey & Pepper.
Value for Money: It’s not particularly expensive (though it isn’t a full size bottle, annoyingly) but at roughly the same price as many single malts, I do wonder quite what the appeal of such a bottle is.
Score: 35 / 50.
I enjoy trying New Make Spirit, it can often be a fascinating peek behind the scenes of a single malt but I’m not sure what I’d do with 50cl of the stuff. Having said that, this is perhaps one of the more drinkable examples I’ve come across. Could also be interesting in cocktails, or long with soda. Most importantly, it highlights the quality of the spirit being produced at Mackmyra.
Introduced in 2010, Brukswhisky is matured predominantly in bourbon barrels with a small amount of ex-sherry wood thrown into the mix. Bottled at 41.4% abv, it is available in the UK for around £40.
Smell: Lots of Vanilla, Lemon Meringue, White Chocolate, Cream, Grain & Straw.
Taste: Vanilla, Cream, Caramel, Pepper & Spice.
Value for Money: Sensibly priced at around £40, there can be few complaints.
Scores: 40 / 50.
A pleasantly light dram that serves as a gentle yet encouraging introduction to the whisky of Mackmyra.
‘Skördetid’ is the latest of Mackmyra’s special edition releases. Meaning ‘Harvest Time’ in Swedish, the whisky is the result of a collaboration with Italian wine producer Masi that see’s the spirit finished for six months in Amarone wine casks. Bottled at 46.1%, Skördetid retails in the UK for around £70.
Smell: Berries, Caramel, Nut, Vanilla, Fudge, Raisins and Cinnamon.
Taste: Vanilla, Grapes, Berries, Caramel, Oak Spice, Dark Chocolate and Marizipan. Satisfying long finish.
Value for Money: Should be available in the UK for around £70 – £75 but it’s possibly unique enough to warrant such an investment.
Scores: 43.5 / 50.
An intriguing whisky that takes its time to open up, but when it does, it reveals a dram of many layers and some unusual flavours. I suspect it could become more rewarding the better you get to know it.
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