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Swedish Single Malt Whisky
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, 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 whisky to present to their host, the conversation naturally turned to the lack of any such industry in their homeland..
The seed was well and truly planted. Within a year, the friends had registered a company and began experiments to find the best possible recipe for their new product. 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.
Thoughts: 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. It’s certainly not the most complex but it’s pleasant and accessible and 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.
Thoughts: This stuff is just wonderful and it’s very sensibly priced. It’s one of the stars of the Mackmyra range with some beautiful spicy notes from the Swedish oak. Like the best curry dishes, however, the wide array of spices bring outstanding flavour along with their warmth – rather than offering heat for heat’s sake. It’s also reassuringly bottled at higher strength and un-chill-filtered. Svensk Ek is Mackmyra really showing what it’s all about.
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.
Thoughts: An unusual dram that may take a few by surprise to begin with. It certainly took me a while to understand it. Even at that, I’m not sure Calvados-finished whisky is something I’m overly keen to see more of. It just didn’t seem to hit the spot for me. I worry it may have triggered some PTSD from the cider-drinking days of my youth. Still, it’s great to see someone try something new and Mackmyra have a license to experiment, since they’re not held firm by the strenuous laws of the Scotch Whisky Association. Even if this one didn’t work for me, I can appreciate the creativity of it. Anyway, I’m sure there will be other people that really enjoy it.
*You can buy the whiskies reviewed in this article from Master of Malt.
For Mack click here
For Svensk Ek click here
For Appelblom click here
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