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Friday, December 29, 2017

Mackmyra 10 year old Swedish Single Malt Whisky

We live in interesting times.

I'm talking about whisky. You may use whatever adjective you'd like to describe the general present tense.

The new whisky distilleries we'd gushed over five years ago are now coming of age, releasing whiskies with firm age statements. But we were so innocent five years ago. Some of us have since (probably wisely) given up whisky for brandy, rum or time with loved ones. The rest of us are either actively working for the whisky industry or are just A BIT more cynical than we were.

In the next year or two, I look forward to taking a good look at the single malt scotch distilleries/brands that are all growns up. Each has taken its own path. One may wonder if they're hitting this milestone at the right time or the wrong; and if their successes or failures should be heeded by the next generation of new distilleries.

I foresee those posts requiring some real work on my part. For now, I'm going to review the first regular ten year old from Mackmyra, the leading Swedish whisky distillery.

Mackmyra has actually been running for more than 18 years, and is in their (I believe) second distillery building. They seem to have had a good time over these past several years, constantly experimenting with classic Scottish methods as well as casks and ingredients native to Sweden. They were also not always in the habit of listing age statements. This ten year old seems to lean a little closer to classic single malt cask types, so lemme see how it goes...

Distillery: Mackmyra
Region: Sweden
Type: Single Malt
Age: 10 years
Maturation: Here comes a paragraph, sorry. I've seen some conflicting online reports about cask types. But Mix Master Angela D was quoted saying there were four types of casks. So for now I'm going with: virgin American oak, Oloroso-seasoned Swedish oak, first-fill ex-bourbons and refill ex-bourbons.
Alcohol by Volume: 46.1%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No

Its color is blond (Ha! I got Swedish jokes). Okay, it's yellow amber. The nose starts off with barley, oats, pilsner. A little bit of lemon, raspberry candy and roses. It's all very polite, until a whiff of fermenting fruit rises up after 20 minutes. The palate leads off with tart & tangy berries, tobacco and a refreshing bitterness. Then some sort of cranberry-vanilla-almond custard. There's a quirky oak note that's like new American oak, but fruitier. Some oloroso appears after ~30 minutes. It's aromatic. Mysterious. Wait, no, ignore that last note as it is too Murray-esque. It finishes tangy and grassy with a hint of bitterness. Cherry brandy. Oloroso. It's mellow, but has a good distance.

This is the sixth Mackmyra single malt I've reviewed and, like the previous five, it's fascinating from start to finish. The nose is the quietest part, but remains grain- and fruit-forward throughout. It took a long time for me to unpack the palate. There's oak, but it's not OAK! Rather, oak? The tangy, bitter notes also push it further afield from Scottish or American whisky, and thankfully so. Though it's a different creature than their First Edition, it's of a similar quality.

At half the cost of their "Moment" whiskies, this 10 year old seems priced to get the bottles moving, so I hope it (or something like it) becomes permanently part of the Mackmyra core range.

Availability - Continental European retailers, many of the UK ones have sold through
Pricing - $65-$85 (ex VAT, before shipping)
Rating - 85