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I don’t really remember mulled wine being much of a thing in Scotland when I was growing up. Maybe it was popular elsewhere but it certainly didn’t make its way into our little family’s culture. Nowadays, I’ve become quite fond of it and can’t really imagine the festive season without a wee drop of Glühwein at the Christmas markets.
Glögg, the Swedish alternative, has apparently been established as a festive drink since at least the 1800s. Back in 1561, King Erik XIV ordered 130 gallons of the stuff to serve guests at his coronation celebrations. Spice extracts and ready-mixed spices can be purchased at grocery stores all over the country and the drink is regularly served at various Christmas events and throughout the winter.
It is this long tradition that inspired Mackmyra’s Seasons winter release back in 2018. Sweden’s first whisky distillers took casks seasoned with Swedish glögg and used them to mature some of the single malt produced at their Bruks distillery. This was then combined with PX-matured spirit to create Vinterglöd.
Vinterglöd was made in partnership with Saturnus Glögg, a family owned business that has been creating high quality beverages since 1893. Saturnus is the oldest and largest producer of mulled wine and aquavit in Sweden. Like Mackmyra, they focus their production on locally sourced ingredients, making them the perfect partner to help create a taste of the Swedish winter.
*Full disclosure: I was given 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.
Vinterglöd was released in 2018. As such, there isn’t much of it around today. Most of the big sites seem to be sold out but I did find a few online retailers that had one or two bottles in stock. It’s safe to say, that won’t be the case for ever. So if you fancy a bottle, act now or miss the opportunity.
Bottled at 46.1% Vinterglöd retailed around £55 – £60.
Smell: Lots of those winter spice notes come leaping out the glass. Star anise. Allspice. Cardamom. Cinnamon. Gingerbread. Christmas in a glass. There’s also some grape notes and red forest berries. Then comes honey and caramel. With a little time in the glass some baked apples come through.
Taste: The mulling spices are there on arrival. Like the nose, there’s allspice, ginger, cardamom… A fair bit of oak coming through as well. I’m getting the red wine, too. Blackcurrant. Some toffee. Some pepper. Orange and lemon zest. Marzipan, currants… Stollen cake!! Little touch of honeyed malt before the spices return for the finish.
Thoughts: This is one of the bolder finishes I’ve seen from Mackmyra. They tend to stay on the cautious side when it comes to cask enhancement but here the winter spices are right to the fore. You just can’t imagine anyone putting their nose to this glass and thinking of anything but mulled wine. That’s not to say it’s one dimensional, however. The traditional Mackmyra house style still comes through.
It’s the perfect dram for the time of year. I find myself wondering if I could fortify a glass of mulled wine with it. Or even if it would work well in a hot toddy. I suspect it would.
What a crying shame there isn’t any more around. Please, Mackmyra, can we get Vinterglöd back next year? Maybe even make it an annual festive release? Pretty please?
Value for money: Mackmyra have kept the pricing of their Seasonal releases constant for a few years now. £60 wasn’t cheap but it also didn’t make this an unattainable whisky and given the quality – and creativity on show – I’d say it was worth it.
For more on Mackmyra visit here