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The birth of Mackmyra has become a well-told tale by now, but as means of introduction let me briefly summarise the brand’s origin. The distillery and its whisky was the result of a conversation between a group of friends. They mused over the lack of whisky in their native Sweden and the seed planted during that conversation grew into the country’s first whisky distillery. Since then the brand has found fans wherever it has launched.
In addition to a rather solid core range, Mackmyra have enjoyed success with a series of more experimental releases. These are bottled as part of the Seasons range featuring interesting, unique ingredients to represent the changing seasons of their Swedish home. Previous versions have seen Master Blender Angela D’Orazio utilise everything from Italian Amarone Casks, Port casks from the Douro Valley and ex-Oloroso casks seasoned with Japanese Green Tea to more local fare, like Hunting Wine made from Swedish Blueberries and Lingonberries. For the Spring 2021 release, Mackmyra have once again worked with local wine producer Grythyttan Vin to produce something that could only really have come from Sweden…
Björk Sav means birch sap, referring to the sap tapped from Birch Trees. A clear and uncoloured liquid, it has long been used to create wine in the Slavic and Baltic regions, as well as in Scandinavia and even Scotland. For their Bjork wine, Grythyttan collect sap from Rombohöjden, 20km from their winery by drilling a small hole in the tree trunk. When the process is complete, the hole is plugged to prevent infection.
The sap must be collected in early Spring, just as winter is loosening its grip and the first green buds are starting to sprout. Any later and the flavour turns bitter. Once harvested, it is allowed to ferment in steel tanks for between nine and twelve months, after which, it is ready to be bottled.
Mackmyra used the wine of Grythyttan to season both Swedish and American Oak casks that were then combined with ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso-seasoned American Oak casks to create their Björksav single malt. Bottled at 46.3%, it is available for £60.
*Full disclosure: I was sent this sample free of charge. As always I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the dram and the value for money it represents.
Smell: Lots of the familiar Mackmyra apple and malt character. Vanilla and pear. Herbal. Pine needles. Wee touch of cinnamon. Biscuit. Fudge. The sweet tree sap note is very pleasant. Really conjures up the feeling of a forest in springtime.
Taste: Honey, vanilla and juicy apples. Peach. Orange. Lemongrass and a touch of fresh mint. Lightly spiced oaky finish – bit of ginger in there – with more apple and citrus notes.
Thoughts: Mackmyra have once again produced a delicious malt unlike anything else on the market. I can only say that I’d have no issue paying the £60.
This Seasonal range has produced some real belters over the last few years. Despite such stiff competition though, this might be my favourite so far. It’s wonderfully fresh and invigorating and really captures the mood of Spring. Of course it may help that I wrote my notes on a sunny April morning but close my eyes and I could easily imagine a wooded area on a fresh spring day. A dram for sipping outdoors. Without a doubt.
The distillery’s house style is present as ever and acts as a base for the interesting top notes from the Birch Sap wine. Fair play to Mackmyra, this is a bit of a triumph.
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