We’ve had the Mackmyra before, but it was a while ago, hence this Round 2. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for any other Mackmyra (who have both Swedish and English websites that are completely different) that might be reasonably priced, but they haven’t surfaced at the LCBO. This will hold us over until some new stock comes out.
Last time, I glossed over the available information, which wasn’t much. This time, let’s look into svensk whisky as see if there’s anything interesting going on there.
First stop, a quick Master of Malts search to find out what Swedish whiskies are available internationally. That shows only two distillers, Mackmyra and Hven. The Hven writeup says it is only the third legal pot still distillery. That produces two questions – were they using other types of stills? and who is (are) the (at least one) other distiller(ies)y?(?)
Connosr.com fills in the second question: Mackmyra was first. Then Wanborga on Öland, then Hven as mentioned above. Two more are coming online, Grythyttan (which sounds vaguely Welsh) and Box. Box is the most northerly distillery in the world, with extra cold water or something, which is exactly the kind of marketing that tugs at my wallet, so I’m going to have to figure out how to get some of that.
Trying to answer the first question, were they using other types of stills? is a bit harder. There’s a Scandinavian distillate called akvavit (which means water of life) that sits sort of between whisky (which means water of life) and vodka (which means little water) and is typically spiced or seasoned depending on providence. Might be something to try. Knowing what I know now, I have to say I’d have given this blog a much broader title than iScotch. Anyway, I can’t determine what kind of still is used in akvavit, but since there’s a Swedish producer of akvavit called OP Anderson that isn’t on the above list, and akvavit is a distilled beverage, we can assume it isn’t a pot still. BFD, that narrows it down to either reflux or fractionating still or vacuum stills, or plate, bucket, ice-water, or solar stills, with or without thumpers, doublers or slobber boxes, so we might have to wait for the next bottle and dig deeper.
We’ll explain all of those in an upcoming post, probably, as well as that diagram. I might use an internet cafe to search for thumper slobber boxes, though.
None of that has much to do with this whisky specifically, but environment and culture inform practices that influence the flavour and quality of the product. And while the scottish blood in my veins wants to claim full ownership (and Islands Scotches are still the best water of lifes in the world), in all likelihood every culture with access to fire, mining and metal working has come up with some form of distilled liquor — a fermented grain mash distilled and served or aged. Like beer, whisky has its roots in dark winters, when bored farmers got creative with leftover crops. Hundreds of years of culture and agricultural expertise are metaphorically distilled into a bottle of clear or coloured liquid. Whisky entails not just the work of the people at the distillery, but the people who trained them, and the farmers supplying the grain. In some ways, you’re tasting the culmination of the agricultural revolution in each dram, as well as the specific heritage of its region of origin.
Here’s what we thought this time:
Dan – citrusy, wood, caramel
Simon – apple orchard
Ryan – lavender
Goran – orange
Robin – grappa
Sarah – very floral
Matt – very mild, bandaids, not unpleasant tho, sweet
Dan – super light on tongue, spicy, floral apricot
Simon – honey, wood, light oak
Ryan – floral
Goran – butter, dark chocolate, spice too much, very young
Robin – not peaty, very medicinal
Sarah – floral again, non-specific, not so great
Matt – papery, mustiness, wood
Dan – refreshing
Simon – splash opens it but not well
Ryan – n/a
Goran – unbalanced
Robin – n/a
Sarah – not better with a splash
Matt – mild sweetness to smell, splash improves but not distinctive
Try it? Yes! Buy it? Yes.