Mackmyra Smokey – Reserve Bourbon, Oloroso and Svensk Rök

The folks at Mackmyra distillery clearly know what they are doing. There is a subtle yet notable fresh “Scandi” style that comes from their use of Juniper which we’ve started to look out for as a signature element.

Our fabulous tour and tasting guide – Ingemar – chose to split our tasting broadly  between:

For the 2nd part, we explored the Smokey style through two “Macmyra Reserve” expressions (available only through purchasing a cask) and one standard expression:

  • Macmyra Reserve Bourbon Rök 3.5 year Fatnr 7765 (2018-11-13) 50.3%
  • Macmyra Reserve New Oloroso Rök Fatrn 38740 (2014-1010/2018-10-10) 57.3%
  • Mackmyra Svensk Rök 46.1% WL (2021 distillery visit)

Here is what we discovered….


#4 – Smokey transition… restrained elegant sweet peat

Unlike the punchy peat of Islay, we’ve found Mackmyra’s Scandi peat much more restrained and nuanced. Our first foray into the “Smokey” side was a perfect example of this.

Macmyra Reserve Bourbon Rök 3.5 year Fatnr 7765 (2018-11-13) 50.3%

  • Colour – Light bright straw
  • Aroma – Mmm… leather, bacon, honey with a citrus twist, had a lovely clean sweet peat aroma with a hint of juniper, restrained and elegant
  • Palate – Light sweet peat, very smooth and well balanced, easy drinking
  • Finish – Delightful cinnamon, long and strong

What a treat! Lovely, uncomplicated… truly stellar. By far one of our favourites of the entire tasting – remarkable at a mere 3.5 years! Narry a drop of this one remained….


#5 – Smokey and Sweet

Switching gears from a restrained elegant peat, we jumped into a more robust peat and sherry combination.

And what did we think?

Macmyra Reserve New Oloroso Rök Fatrn 38740 (2014-1010/2018-10-10) 57.3%

  • Colour – Copper
  • Aroma – Butterscotch toast slathered with butter, malty then becomes faintly floral after some time, shifting into Christmas spices oops and then hickory sweet maple bacon
  • Palate – Very dry, the most pronounced sweet spices – clove, cinnamon, nutmeg… marmite, oak and wood
  • Finish – Very warm finish – which stays, and how!
  • Water – At first, water mere cranks up the spice however didn’t add or reveal anything new… and then a light cinnamon spice with nutmeg and malt

The “Christmas-y” quality was even more pronounced with the New Oloroso Rok than its Elegant avatar.


#6 – Smokey juniper

Last was from their standard line – one we’ve had before many years ago! What do they have to say?

Svensk Rök (Swedish Smoke) is the only smoky single malt whisky made from Swedish ingredients only. In Sweden, we have used juniper to season our food for generations. Now you can enjoy the timeless flavour in a golden form. The aroma is slightly smoky and spicy, with a much smokier flavour and peaty juniper notes.

As for what we found?

Mackmyra Svensk Rök 46.1% WL (2021 distillery visit)

  • Colour – Light gold
  • Aroma – Juniper wood, sweet peat, tobacco, sour mash with an organic or agricultural quality which warmed to become even sweeter with vanilla notes
  • Palate – Much lighter than expected, more of the tobacco leaf, more juniper smoke, lightly salted too
  • Finish – Certainly there yet also not as much “oomph!” as we anticipated – quite dry, oaky with more herbs than juniper

As the only “core” expression tried, it was nice to check out what they had to say in their official tasting notes?

  • Nose: Slightly smoky and spicy with aromas of peat, juniper and vanilla fudge. 
  • Taste: Smokier than the nose with smoky, peaty, juniper notes. Dry, oaky aromas found with light tobacco leaves and herbs. A slight saltiness with minerals, anise and green fruits. 
  • Aftertaste: Slightly dry and smoky with notes of oak, salt and herbs.

Not all official tasting notes “jibe” with our experience – in this case it did completely!

What we tried from Mackmyra’s Elegant Style:

So there you have it! Four “Reserve” experiences, one limited edition and one core. Clearly catering to a local audience, it was no surprise that our cab driver on the way to the distillery – like many – have splurged with friends to buy a small cask after such a tasting!

As for other Mackmyra tasting experiences (nearly 20 and counting!)? You can find them here.

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Mackmyra Elegant – Bourbon Förlagrad, Brukswhisky Moments, Oloroso

After a fascinating tour of Mackmyra distillery we stepped into a ‘social distancing’ tasting room with separate tables for each set of companions.

Six carefully selected expressions were poured, ready and waiting for us… with no details beyond the golden liquid in our glasses.

As we gradually made our way through the progression it was clear they were split between:

  • A trio from their “Elegant” style aka without peat
  • Then a “Smoky” trio with peat aka Rök

So I’ve decided to split sharing our experience into two parts starting with:

Here is what we discovered….


#1 – Elegant Appetizer… foreshadowing the whisky to come!

Unlike Scottish whisky that needs to mature for at least 3 years else it is a “spirit” not “whisky”, American Bourbon can be “ready to serve” after limited time! What about Swedish whisky? Well in the case of Mackmyra’s Reserve Bourbon Förlagrad, just over seven months was sufficient to produce something really quite interesting.

Mackmyra Reserve Bourbon Forlagrad (Pre-stored) Fatnr 41155 (2018-10-29 to 2019-05-14) 55%

  • Colour – Bright straw
  • Aroma – Quite organic, farm-like and fresh, cinnamon, light honey, vanilla, fresh juniper, caramel… as it settled down, it revealed apricots and apples
  • Palate – Syropy, Christmas spices, malty, dates, wood, chased by honey
  • Finish – Not so long – oak and spice

Not such a bad beginning… until it was later revealed, we had no clue that we were sampling a “spirit” rather than matured whisky. Even only a ‘light’ time in American Oak nicely influenced the character of the spirit.


#2 – Elegant Moments… Brukswhisky DLX 

Next in the Elegant style was a single cask from their “Moments” series… which provide a limited opportunity to the public to purchase unlike the “Reserve” series which is limited to buying a cask!

We learned this happened to be one of their most recently released expressions. Here is what they have to say:

LIMITED EDITION OF 1999.

Moment Brukswhisky DLX is the deluxe version of our classic Brukswhisky; a nod to the original distillery at Mackmyra Bruk but also a stepping stone towards the future. The recipe has remained the same, but the whisky has aged for a longer period in casks. The whisky has gone through an intriguing development, which has resulted in a richer and more complex palate, with buttery notes of caramel and vanilla. In the background echoes light and spicy notes of toasted oak, juniper and peat. Brukswhisky DLX is between 9-14 years old and was aged in the Bodås Mine warehouse. The colour is natural and light golden yellow.

And what did we think?

Mackmyra Moments – Brukswhisky DLX Nr 659/1999 46.6%

  • Colour – Golden sunshine
  • Aroma – Citrus, light friendly and floral, lots of vanilla, summery pear, slightly herbal, leafy? Soft raisins, fruits (pear?), touch of pepper
  • Palate – Bitter yet interesting, initially a bit woody, warming, a bit of fruits, again slightly herbal with some sweetness too… as it opened up, silky smooth, more of that light herbal element contrasting with juniper and oak 
  • Finish – A nice spicy tail

When I looked back at my scrawled notes, I realized it simply didn’t do justice – particularly as what I recorded BIG AND BOLD was – “We really liked it!!”

I then went on to read Mackmyra’s official tasting notes…

  • Nose: Soft vanilla with caramel, honey and chocolate. Finely roasted, bready notes of oak and spicy herbs with light tobacco leaves, leather, white pepper and eucalyptus. Soft, fruity notes of pears, citrus and a hint of raisins.
  • Taste: Buttery vanilla caramel, ripe pears and citrus. Soft, herbal spices with anise and pepper, light notes of roasted oak, peat and juniper.
  • Summary: Soft citrus and pear fruit that ends with slightly spicy notes of roasted oak and vanilla.

Would we agree? Overall yes!


#3 – Elegant Reserve Sherry…

Last in the Elegant style showed off the influence of an Oloroso cask. At just over four years, the colour was striking!

Mackmyra Reserve Oloroso Elegant Fatnr 39502 (2016-11-22 / 2020-09-21) 49.6%

  • Colour – Dark gold almost copper
  • Aroma – Fudge, fruit and dates, raisins, vanilla, very sweet, full of all the lovely Oloroso aromas
  • Palate – Initially a bit harsh, different, herbal, honey…. like a herbal liquor
  • Finish – Quite spicy in a most enjoyable way
  • Water – Even with water, it was strong and even more distinctive in character… after some time it came into its own – rounder, fuller, heavier with caramel and cream

What was so interesting is even with all the Oloroso, it still had that nice clean “Scandi” style we have come to appreciate from Mackmyra. In this case, it reminded us of birch wood rather than pine or cedar!

There was something quite unusual about this one. It wasn’t easy but it was unique and that alone made it worth including in our line-up. We thoroughly appreciated this one – after tasting all six, this was one we came back to!

An interesting way to transition from “Elegant” to “Smokey”…

Coming up… Mackmyra Smokey Style:

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Spirit of Hven – Seven Angels – St Raphael 40.9%

Our last Spirit of Hven dram was their most recent – St Raphael – which is the first of their new limited edition Seven Angels series.

The folks at Spirit of Hven love their myths and stories. For this whisky, they were inspired by the tale of the archangel St Raphael sent to heal Abraham and Lot, becoming the patron for doctors, apothecaries and medics.

Hence St Raphael is :

a homage and thank you to everyone within medicine and healthcare. They have fought brave and hard with the Covid pandemic. It is also a tribute to blue light personnel by their side.

They go on to share that the Archangel St Raphael is also the patron for happy meetings, travelers and marriage.

Surely, during this pandemic, we have missed our physical meets, with hugs and human touch. Surely, we long for to travel again, to meet our friends, family and colleagues all around the world. And how huge is not our longing to gather family and friends, and finally be able to celebrate our postponed weddings, to commit, with love, closeness and joy.

Let this whisky be a tribute to the healing, to be able to travel again and meet like we once did. To enjoy the wonders of spring, each other, and a remarkably good whisky.

So what did we think? In short – we loved it! Definitely the right note to wind down our afternoon tasting…

Seven Angels – St Raphael (2010/Mar 2021) 40.9%

  • Aroma – A quick sharp whiff of varnish then it settled down and started to open up, becoming floral, wine, cinnamon and honeysuckle, summery, cloves, dessert confection
  • Palate – Unexpected! Lots of oak tannins, spice, the red wine cask is quite pronounced, while the aroma was floral the palate was a heavier creamier almost fudge like dessert with rich red wine
  • Finish – Long and warm

We could clearly taste the influence of the Italian red wines from Veneto – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Vespiola. We understand six casks in all were used – including one which previously held Spirit of Hven vodka!

Whilst we found it took a bit of time to open up, but when it did – worth it! There was a delightful dessert quality without being overly sweet. The contrast between summery aromas and spicy almost autumnal palate was quite enjoyable. Lots going on but it worked!

What do they have to say? Whilst you may not find the factsheet on their website, the kind folks sent it to me with oodles more details!

Here’s what they have to say about how they made this whisky:

St Raphael is a marriage between six casks from 2010. Five of these casks, made from air dried Quercus Petraea from Allier, have previously held wine from one of the most merited winemakers in Italy. A family-owned winery with many generations. Geographically they are situated just south of the alps in northern Veneto. The blend of the five casks is two previously holding Cabernet Sauvignon, two previously holding Merlot and one that have held a sweet wine made from the grape Vespaiola. The sixth cask, to balance the stringency from the French oak, is made from American Quercus Muehlenbergii. This cask has previously held the unique Hven Vodka that is oak matured prior to last distillation.

And what about their official tasting notes?

Scent and taste without water

  • the first scent is enticing, a wonderful marriage of ripe, well matured red wine on a sunny terrace. Both Merlot and Cabernet show themselves without becoming intrusive. A lovely fudge aroma from the Chinkapin oak makes a soft base. The end is elegant and fruity with notes of honey and apricots, a clear contribution from the Vespaiola.
  • Taste is soft with elegant stringency in the closure. Balanced acidity and a light sweetness. Long, warming aftertaste with round body. No fixated balance point on the tongue, it rolls over all the tastebuds, full palate, with small exclamations. Alcohol is clear but fine-tuned.

With water, just a couple of drops, as the alcohol is initially low, the whisky becomes even more flirtatious. It releases light notes of honeysuckle and ripe, dark fruits. Oak character grows with the notes of herbal French oak. Lovely, elegant hints of liquorice and flowers.

With these couple of drops of water, smoothness reach perfection. Velvet smooth over the tastebuds. The stringent taste that was felt before water is transformed to honey and vanilla.

Considering my tasting companion typically prefers a peatier dram, this one was perfect for a summer afternoon.

What else did we try at Spirit of Hven?

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Spirit of Hven – Seven Stars 6.2 Alcor 45%

Sunshine, warm breeze, nicely relaxed after a long walk around the island, distillery tour and grub, we started the serious business of whisky tasting. As an appetizer, we started with Spirit of Hven’s MerCurious Corn Whisky and then moved on to this expression from their limited edition Seven Stars series.

If today you wanted to try each of the Seven Stars series, I suspect you may need to visit the distillery itself as most are near impossible to track down. However for those fortunate few who make their way for a wee island adventure, you may find out experience edifying!

Seven Stars 6.2 Alcor 45%, Chateau Margaux Cask, 3642 bottles

  • Colour – Bright gold
  • Aroma – very full, lush, rich coffee, a bit of leather and cream, loads of fudge, some licorice, very sweet, mocha, coffee cream, dark cherries, salted caramel brittle covered in chocolate
  • Palate – Flavourful and complex, clear follow through on the palate from the nose joined by red wine tannins, curiously thin, the peat comes through on the 2nd sip
  • Finish – Stays on the coffee note with a bit of smoke
  • Water – While didn’t think it would be needed, given the intensity of the aromas and flavours, gave it a try. What did it do? The coffee quality reduced and a nice nutty element emerged with brazil nuts, a bit woody and dry

Overall quite an interesting whisky. A little too “concentrated” or “intense” to have on a regular basis, however it was certainly one worth trying!

What do the folks at Spirit of Hven have to say?

Alcor is number 6½ in the Spirit of Hven “Seven Stars” series. It is the most unique so far amongst the releases. A fantastic marriage of American and European oak. Presenting a wonderful combination of traditional whisky lactones with herbal freshness and younger, vibrant and enticing wine cask character. The whisky has a mesmerizing scent- and taste palate with a delicious balance between freshness and maturity, sweetness and acidity, bitterness and texture.

The Alcor recipe was meant to be a longer finish of Mizar on Chateau Margaux casks. Unfortunately the result was not fully what we hoped it to be. So to improve the recipe, whisky matured on wine cask from Italy, Olorosso and Hven Vodka casks was added. The final result became so good, it made our master distiller cry, happy tears.

The mashbill is the same as with 6:1 Mizar; 58,8% lager malt, 35,3% peated malt (38ppm), 5,9% chocolate malt. This single malt whisky is a blend of seven casks. Three casks made of Petraea oak from Allier that previously held chateau Margaux; one cask made of Faginea oak from Portugal that previously matured Olorosso sherry; two casks made of Muehlenbergii oak from Missouri that was used to mature Hven Vodka; and one cask of Burgundy Robur oak that used to mature Maculan Torcolato.

Scent and Taste Undiluted:

  • First scent impression is raisins, then followed by a light liquorice smokiness. Rich nuances of dark chocolate and coffee combined by a distinguished scent of leather. Dried plums in the background. Mature and elegant, yet full of life.
  • The taste is surprisingly round even at 45 %vol. Delicate bitter notes that do not overpower the sweet oak lactones and wood sugars. Lands mid-back-tongue. Long, sweet aftertaste with soft tannins. Great, big mouthfeel, wins on not being chill filtered.

Diluted: With water 1:4

  • The elegant notes from the wine casks evolves, and gets to dance an intimate dance with the herbal maltiness of the whisky. Together they create a lovely fond of chocolate, coffee and liquorice complemented by spicy raspberries.
  • The taste is sweet yet full of texture and life. Balanced mid-tongue. Medium long aftertaste with round oiliness and slight acidity. Perfect to balance an after dinner espresso.
  • This whisky is almost unnecessary good. You would like it to last forever.

What else did we try from Spirit of Hven?

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Spirit of Hven – MerCurious Corn Whisky 45.6%

It is a curious thing at Swedish distilleries… you can pay to taste whisky however if you actually want to BUY a bottle, you need to go to a state-owned “off-license” Systembolaget or order online from an authorised distributor.

Additionally, this small island distillery Spirit of Hven specialises in mostly small batch experiments, so aside from their “regular” expressions like Tycho’s Star, what you try today will not be available tomorrow, let alone via the liquor store.

With Master Distiller Henric Molin’s foray into Corn whisky, there are indications this will  remain a regular expression – simply with different batches where subtle differences may be found. Named after the planet Mercury, known in Greek and Norse mythology as Hermes and Oden respectively. According to the folks at Spirit of Hven, this god “ruled over wealth, fortune and commerce. His favorite activity was to rule the corn trade.” 

After enjoying a relaxing lunch post distillery tour, we settled down with a rather large book of whisky options… and thought why not start by trying this before getting into the “real” aka barley whiskies!

MerCurious Corn Whisky 45.6%

  • Colour – Bright orange
  • Aroma – Sugary sweet, vanilla, bright fruits, buttery, sweet corn starchy sweet
  • Palate – Young, raw but not harsh, more of that buttery quality, sweet and almost a bit grassy
  • Finish – Limited

We didn’t really know what to expect however it was… curious? What struck is was the smoothness and the extremely orange colour!

We set it aside and on the revisit it was pure candy floss!

And what did the folks at Spirit of Hven have to say? Quite a bit!

Every batch comprises of 14 casks, all playing an important tune in this masterpiece; all casks are made of American air-dried virgin oak. MerCurious is velvet smooth and enticing while still challenging with rich character. The recipe is 88% corn, 5% wheat, 3,5% barley, 3,5% rye. Maturation is between 3 and 8 years depending on cask recipe.

Scent and Taste

  • Undiluted: the first notes attracting the nose are light, sweet candy aromas surrounded by scents of fresh fruits; apples and cloudberries. MerCurious has a distinct character of mature whisky combined with vanilla and cocoa balanced with a delicate spirituality. The corn is evident and if you close your eyes you feel yourself teleported to the kitchen with the nose over a casserole with new boiled sweet corn. A fine note of menthol contributes with a nice freshness, a clear provenance from Hven.
  • The taste is exiting and unique. First it is almost sparkling, fresh and vibrant then it transforms into a full bodied sweet and sour pie. It lands mid-back tonngue. Via the mouth it reaches the nose with a sweet corn aroma. The small addition of barley to the recipe gives a lively and fresh taste with light menthol and green notes.
  • Diluted: With water 1:7 (≈40%) the scent changes; the distinct spirituality fades a bit and promotes the light candy notes. It scents of jellybeans, wine gums and chocolate cake, mature blackberries and sweet pie dough. Vanilla and fudge in the background.
  • With water the taste becomes velvet smooth, green notes of sweet corn, asparagus and pear. Sweetness balanced with delicate acidity and light bitterness from American oak. This is happiness in a bottle, soft and smooth mixed with integrity and personality.

What else did we try from Spirit of Hven?

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Spirit of Hven – MerCurious, Seven Stars Alcor, Seven Angels St Raphael

Travel is a precious commodity these days… even more so when somewhere completely new in the company of a good friend. Without a fellow whisky lady explorer, I doubt Sweden would have made it on my COVID times travel list… and certainly not an amazingly packed few days which included not one but two distillery tours!

Our first was Spirit of Hven on a small island between Sweden and Denmark. It is one of those distilleries that takes COMMITMENT to reach. In my case it meant a couple of planes, taxi, bus, train then another car, bus, train, ferry and many kilometres walk to reach! Once on the island of Veen, we took the scenic stroll around the east coast of the island – most enjoyable and well worth doing. However the signage was limited so there was a time or two when we wondered – are we going the right way? It was only as we returned along the ‘main’ route that we suddenly saw signage a-plenty!

I’ll share more about our distillery tour another time, however for us the whisky fun really began after lunch. The owners have quite a remarkable collection of whiskies in their bar – tempting as the range was we were ladies on a mission to explore more of Spirit of Hven creations.

The distillery whisky menu was chock full of options – while some of the limited expressions were out of stock – it was remarkable how many were still available.

What did we try?

And the best thing? Relaxing outside after a day of travel including our MANY kilometres of walking!

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Peaty persuasion – High Coast Hav “Spiced Oak” 48%

What’s in a name? Well… apparently a lot! Back in 2010, a distillery was founded in the Höga Kasten or High Coast of Sweden…dubbing itself  “Box Distilleri”.

Fast forward to 2018, a few years after Barcardi gained a stake in Compass Box, a potential ‘brand conflict’ was raised and Box CEO Thomas Larsson acquiesced, changing their name officially to “High Coast“.

Our previous brushes with this Scandi distillery were quite positive – from samples of The 2015 Festival and a special Shareholders 3 year dram in 2016 to a full bottle brought from Sweden to Mumbai –  Dálvve – in 2017.

Here is what I found…

High Coast Hav Spiced Oak 48%

  • Nose – Light smoke, youghurt, malty, sweet spices of clove… started to open up more sweet grass peat, candies, then malty mocha, chocolate, almond biscotti, vanilla icing sugar, a light citrus twist
  • Palate – OK that has some kick, a bit harsh at first, spicy peat, some dry oak, then becomes friendlier, fruitier, sweeter… almost flowery
  • Finish – Black peppercorn, cinnamon brown sugar chaser, vanilla

More punch on the palate than the aromas initially indicated, but becomes more fun and tasty. I was struck with how the freshness also had a nice complement of character depth – considering “Spiced Oak” rather apt, particularly appreciating the light peat.

Somehow I found myself sipping and enjoying and… well.. not really thinking about creating detailed tasting notes as I was simply liking it!

What more do we know?

Lots! Thanks to the transparency in sharing the recipe and process…

I’ve reproduced content from their website below, starting with the overall description and tasting notes… however for the geeks, I encourage you to read on!

Here is what the folks at High Coast have to say about Hav:

Hav is a lightly peated single malt whisky from High Coast Distillery (formerly Box Distillery) in Sweden. It has been matured in both ex-Bourbon barrels and small 40 litre casks made from Swedish and Hungarian oak. ‘Hav’ means ‘sea’ in Swedish and is part of The Origins series celebrating location, history and geography of the Swedish distillery.

Official tasting notes:

  • Aroma: Fruity, Spicy, Cloves, Light Peat Reek, Nutmeg
  • Palate: Well balanced, Fruity, Spicy, Peat aroma
  • Finish: Oak, Cloves, Vanilla

Recipe:

Hav consists of 76,82% unpeated whisky and 23,18% of peated whisky. 66,85% has matured in small casks of Hungarian and Swedish oak up to 5 months then transferred to Bourbon barrels for an average of 6,09 years. 30.84% has matured solely in Bourbon barrels and 2,67% has been finished in 40 liter Hungarian oak casks.

Casks used:

  • 200 liter Bourbon barrels (Quercus Alba), delivered empty direct from Kentucky
  • 40 litre Swedish oak casks (Quercus Robur), made by Thorslundkagge
  • 40 liter Hungarian oak (Quercus Petraea), made in Hungary
  • Until October 2014, our casks have matured in a damp warehouse, where they lost slightly more alcohol than expected. Since October 2014 until bottling, the casks have been maturing in a dry environment in warehouse number 3.
  • 14/03/2019 48 Bourbon barrels containing 6610,5 kilos of whisky, with an average strength of 61,69% abv, were emptied into our blending tank. There we added, 2154,7 kilos of water to reach the desired strength of 48% abv.

Ingredients:

  • Yeast: Fermentis Safwhisky M-1
  • Unpeated malt: Pilsner malt from Vikingmalt in Halmstad.
  • Peated malt: Pilsner malt from Castle Maltings in Belgien as well as peated malt from Scottish maltsters.
  • Peated to a phenolic level of 31 and 46ppm with peat from Scotland
  • Barely types: Henley, Sébastian, Rosalina, Scarlett, Quench, Tipple, Barke
  • Process water: From Bålsjön, filtered through sand and carbon filters
  • Cooling water: From Ångermanälven
  • Batch size: 1200 kg malt / 6300 liter wort
  • Average fermentation time: 80 hours in stainless steels washbacks.
  • Distilled between: 09/01/2012 – 12/12/2013

First Cut:
Unpeated spirit: 13 minutes head (foreshots)
Peated spirit: 30 minutes head (foreshots)

Second Cut:
Unpeated spirit: 67 % ABV (20°C)
Peated spirit: 60 % ABV (20°C)

Key facts:

  • Strength ABV (alcohol by volume): 48 % ABV
  • Age: 5,24 – 7,12 years (Average: 6,26 years)
  • Phenol content PPM: 0, 31, 46 ppm (Average: 11 ppm)
  • Cask: 40 liter Hungarian oak, 40 liter Swedish, 200 liter Bourbon barrels
  • Number of Bottles: 11 614 st
  • Bottle Size: 700 ml

Gotta admire the passion, precision and creativity that goes into such an approach…

And the other drams sampled in this Peaty Persuasion trio?

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Peaty persuasion – Sprit of Hven “The Nose” 44.9%

Last in a Peaty Persuasion trio was “The Nose” from Spirit of Hven…. This wasn’t our first introduction to this Swedish distillery, however it had been some time – nearly five years since we sample Tycho’s Star! With further explorations clearly overdue!

Clearly with a name like “the nose”, it is a nod to the critical role of nosing to determine which cask is ready and how it is to be used…

So what did I think?

Spirit of Hven “The Nose” 44.9%

  • Nose – Sour mash, solvent? over ripe fruit, cinnamon spice, yes there is some smokiness, cinnamon oatmeal with brown sugar, something quite “chaotic” in the aromas – some malt, some spice, some smoke, some sour, some sweet….
  • Palate – Cinnamon, oaky spice, raisins, a hint of listerine? more bitter oak, with a kind of resin…
  • Finish – Bit of bitter coffee

Well…. there is an oaky spice, however it is a bit peculiar. To be honest, I’m not so sure about this one and struggled with it… Setting it aside, I decided to come back… and just before doing so added a few drops of water, hoping it would help balance this somewhat imbalanced dram.

This time I could tease out more of the overripe fruit, stewed apples, herbs, faintly floral perfume.. but it was still remarkably ‘shy’. And the palate? Hmm.. much improved. Now the oak spice has settled in nicely.

So while the initial experience didn’t tempt me to try water, I’m glad I did.

What more do we know?

The distillery shares that it is an October 2020 release, matured in a variety of casks – more precisely 21 casks! The ‘base’ is 14 French Quercus Petraea casks that previously held wines such as Petrus, Margaux and Latour. These were supported by 7 American Quercus Muehlenbergii casks with a mix of virgin oak and ex Spirit of Hven Vodka casks – yes vodka! These were further ‘married’ in Spanish Quercus Robur ex Oloroso sherry butts. As for age, Spirit of Hven share that the youngest cask is 8 years old and the oldest 12 years – from their distillery’s first year of production.

Here’s official tasting notes:

Without water,

  • The whisky is pungent with balanced elegance, it has a clear note of oak and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are scents of vanilla and caramel combined with coffee and sweet wine. Top note is French oak with a light spiciness.
  • The taste is powerful and lands mid tongue. It shows a menthol sweetness balanced by a slightly acidic bitterness. Elegant and full flavoured.
  • Medium long aftertaste.

With water,

  • The whisky opens up and reveals scents of light, floral herbs, lavender and ripe plums. The scent is caressed, probably as traces from the angels, by a nose of vanilla and apple. This is how the garden of Eden must have scented like.
  • With a little water, the taste becomes velvet smooth and enticing. Balance shifts towards the lid of the mouth with a counterbalance point mid tongue.
  • The aftertaste prolongs with water and the sweet notes extends. Lovely.

I’m sorry… garden of Eden? Not exactly… at least in my experience.

What else was included in an evening of Peaty Persuasion :

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vomFASS – Mackmyra Duo + Teeling

Back in the days that I regularly travelled to Singapore, I heard about an interesting store – vomFASS – where you could find specialty spirits, oils, vinegars and more!

A friend in Indonesia even purchased one of their whisky blends which we enjoyed one fine evening in Jakarta! However I somehow never made it to their Singapore shop… I was certainly curious, but there was always some other work or play priority…

Fast forward several years and now I – remarkably and conveniently – live nearby a vomFASS shop in Nurnberg, Germany!  For those who haven’t yet encountered these folks, over the last 25+ years, they’ve grown far beyond Germany with franchises scattered around 20 odd countries. The concept remains – purchase both bottle and liquid, return to refill your bottle from the cask you liked – if still available – or try something new.

Naturally I couldn’t resist and found myself picking up a trio!

So what made it into a wee 100 ml “barrel to bottle” vomFASS experience?

  • Mackmyra “Valbo” 42.5%
  • Teeling Reserve Small Batch Sherry 16 year 43%
  • Mackmyra “Kungstorv” Peated 47%

Curious? Read on… Continue reading

Vita Dulcis 24 – Sweden’s Mackmyra 5 year Rök 46.3%

Unbelievable but true! I have managed to taste all 24 minis within one month. Something I have never imagined I would accomplish. Now… admittedly, I wasn’t tasting every day. Nor was I even completing each mini. Instead I grouped them in trios and quartets, settling into  a sniff, swish and consideration… mostly on weekends. Curious to know more? You can read about all of the minis here.

As for my penultimate dram? Fittingly, it closed on Europe with a single cask of a Swedish peaty Mackmyra, bottled specifically for Vita Dulcis.

Sweden – Mackmyra 5 year Rök Oloroso Cask Finish 46.3% Exclusive single cask bottling for Vita Dulcis

  • Nose – A bit dusty, then smokey, a dash of honey, fresh and woodsy, a dash of caramel, cinnamon, then shifted into maple chased by vanilla, cured meats
  • Palate – OK now we have peat, delicious, peaking behind was fruits, then baked goods
  • Finish – Bitter sweetness, cinnamon, nicely lingers…

I must say, the more I sipped, the more I enjoyed it. Even after finishing the last drop, came back to my empty glass just to enjoy the aromas. A nice way to wind things up…

As a single cask, I wasn’t able to find specific tasting notes, however I checked out my previously experience with Svensk Rök 46.1%. I’d agree it is certainly in the same vein.

You may also find other encounters with Mackmyra of interest:

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