Ding-dong. Due to bad weather, we’re being detoured once again towards Sweden here at Malt. The focus is Mackmyra and its seasonal Skördetid release, or Swedish for harvest time. Apparently, this limited expression has been going down well since its debut and selling out across whisky retailers. The rising tide of Swedish fandom or a gentle push from Malt? We’d like to think its a little of both.
Recently I hosted a couple of London whisky tastings to help Away from the Ordinary launch his whisky club. Back to back tastings gave me respect for Ambassadors who have to travel and do this every night and still remain positive about their wares. The lines about the best casks, best barley and finest spring water have to remain clear and intact. However, not to a level where we don’t question some of the lines being ushered by distilleries.
Fortunately, both nights featured a different line-up of handpicked whiskies. Valentines Day resulted in an Unloved distillery line-up – at a pub called Dirty Dick’s believe it or not – whilst the following night it was all about the casks. Budgets were set with an emphasis on keeping tickets £35 or below for either event. Even with the ceiling of a budget, there is plenty of value available and whiskies experiences to match when you really put in the effort. By that I mean no quick rummage at Waitrose followed by a regurgitation of information on a projector. You have to interact with the crowd and field questions.
This Mackmyra Skördetid appeared on the 2nd night when the theme was about casks. The easy street option would have been an ex-bourbon, port, sherry, rum etc. Tiresome and predictable. Let’s have a little fun with the theme and show some flair. Instead we picked a Tomintoul from the Cadenhead’s Warehouse Tour that showed a very inactive cask but more of the distillery spirit – a great palate cleanser. Then the Dramboree Fettercairn that allowed us to discuss the splitting of a cask alongside re-charring a cask before putting the whisky back into it. Then there was the Langatun Jacob’s Dram where topics ranged from Swiss whisky to wine casks. The excellent
Cooley sorry an Irish whisky from the Whisky Barrel finished for a couple of months in a sherry hogshead – thus enabling chatter around finishing in general and the size of the cask used. At the end there was the Claxton’s Ardmore that was matured fully in a Laphroaig cask, allowing us to experience a mix of peat and again the influence of the cask.
Amongst this field of interest was the Mackmyra Skördetid that is a limited release and now becoming thin on the ground but you can shop around and still find it for circa £57 online. This warranted inclusion on several fronts. Firstly, showcasing the type of whisky coming out of Sweden, but also the use of various cask types thanks to the distillery providing an informative fact sheet. The recipe laid bare by the distillery allowed us to debate the use of casks and the influence of the Masi red wine variant utilised here. The primary casks being 1st fill ex-Masi Costasera Amarone, 1st fill ex-bourbon and 1st fill Oloroso. Then in lesser numbers we have Mackmyra’s favoured 30-litre casks alongside 1st fill American oak that previously held Pedro Ximenes Sherry. If this had just been a finish rather than a composite approach, then the wine cask upon reflection may have dominated proceedings too much. It was time to put the whisky to the attendees and my own notes taken after the event.
Mackmyra Skördetid – review
Colour: dried orange.
On the nose: dried fruits much like the colour, honey, a touch of cinnamon and marmalade. Gentle figs, plum jam and golden syrup. Beneath this resides a dough-like texture moving into flapjacks with oatmeal strongly coming through. Returning with water the overriding change was one of fudge.
In the mouth: initially green then turning red apples, some cranberries and raisins before the dryness and oaky nature of the whisky takes hold. On the finish you’re left with Jacob’s crackers and a touch of blackcurrant. A little heat towards the end and some vanilla, but overall not too bad and warrants further exploration.
I found the nose a little difficult at first and certainly the palate is more rewarding and well sculpted. There is an enjoyable procession of characteristics and thereby development. From a burst of fruit to sweetness and then the cereal notes and a touch of dryness on the finish. This is a well engineered Swedish whisky with moments to enjoy. A whisky you can sit down with and an offering that several attendees preferred overall. A wise choice from a very wise head?
Image kindly provided by Abbey Whisky and any commission links help with the Malt Christmas staff party fund.