Mackmyra currently operate two distilleries in the district of Valbo, southwest of Gävle in Eastern Sweden. The original was founded back in 2002 in an old power station in the village of Mackmyra, while the second and most recent came online in 2011 in order to boost the companies production capabilities.
What has now become known as the Mackmyra Bruk distillery was the first of its kind in Sweden and was born of a conversation between eight friends from the Royal Institute of Technology during a trip to a winter ski resort in the north of the country. Noticing they had each brought a bottle of malt whisky to present to their host, the conversation naturally turned to the lack of any such industry in their homeland, despite the land being abundantly rich in the necessary raw ingredients.
The seed was well and truly planted and within a year, the friends had registered a company and began experiments to find the best possible recipe. In 2002, after 170 variations were tested, they began the production of Sweden’s first single malt, with the inaugural bottlings released in 2006.
By 2011, a second premises was under development. An ultra-modern design, the Gravity Distillery stands tall at 35 metres, with raw ingredients piped to the top floor before being filtered down through each step of the process, dramatically reducing the energy required to run the site.
Since its initial release, Mackmyra has developed a core range of four single malts: Mack, Brukswhisky, Svensk EK and Svensk Rok, though limited edition versions, often of an experimental nature, have also been released at regular intervals.
A single malt whisky made from 100% swedish ingredients. Mack is apparently aimed at a younger, millennial audience. Designed to be versatile, it is a dram intended to work just as well with a mixer, or in a cocktail, as it does on its own. Bottled at 40%, it retails at around £32.
Smell: Floral Honey, Biscuit, Apple, Pear, Fudge and gentle Spice.
Taste: Caramel, Apple, Toffee, Digestive Biscuits and warming Spice.
Value for Money: It’s certainly affordable and carries good flavour. I suspect however, that if I was on the lookout for a Mackmyra myself, I’d be spending that little bit extra for the Svensk Ek or Svensk Rok versions.
Not the most complex but a pleasant and accessible dram that serves as an inoffensive introduction to the Mackmyra range.
Svensk Ek is a single malt which has been matured, as the name would suggest, in Swedish Oak barrels, constructed using trees planted on the island of Visingso several centuries ago. Bottled at the commendable strength of 46.1%, it retails at around £40.
Smell: All Spice, Aniseed, Paprika, Vanilla and Toffee, Malty Biscuits. Apple.
Taste: Toffee, Butterscotch, Vanilla, Honey, Biscuit, some Apple (though less prominent than in the rest of the range)… Lots of Spice which grows in intensity the longer the dram rests on the palate.
Value for Money: A wonderful mouthful of flavour that comes at a sensible price.
One of the stars of the Mackmyra range. Like the best curry dishes, the wide array of spices bring outstanding flavour along with their warmth, rather than offering heat for heat’s sake. Reassuringly bottled at higher strength and un-chill-filtered, this is Mackmyra really showing what it can do.
Distilled at the original Bruk distillery, Appelblom is a single malt whisky matured in American Bourbon barrels before being finished in casks which previously held Calvados from Christian Drouin. Bottled at 46.1%, it retails at £45 – £50 in the UK.
Smell: Unsurprisingly, the nose is dominated by Apple. Lots and lots of Apple. There’s also Lemon, Pear, Vanilla Shortbread, Butterscotch and soft Pepper.
Taste: Apple, Apple Cider, Orange, Cinnamon, Lemon & Lime then Apple again.
Value for Money: An unusual dram that may take a few by surprise to begin with. It certainly took me a while to understand it. Worth the money so long as you’re willing to give it time.
Took a second dram before I really began to understand it. Even at that, I’m not sure that Calvados-finished whisky is something I’m overly keen to see more of. Still, Appelblom remains an intriguing proposition and Mackmyra deserve credit for trying something new.
For more on Mackmyra, click here.
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