With Spring just around the corner, Mackmyra’s Appelblom, will shortly join the distillery’s Seasonal range (Säsongswhisky). The expression is formed from a selection of 100 to 200 litre ex-bourbon casks and 200 litre virgin American oak casks which are then finished in 30 to 225 litre ex-calvados casks from Christian Drouin in Gonneville, France.
Like other bottlings in the Seasonal collection Appelblom focuses on an unusual finishing cask – though in this instance, the cask choice weds directly in to what I’d suggest are characteristics of the distillery’s spirit – namely orchards and particularly apple. Virtually all my Mackmyra experiences (and tasting notes) emphasis strong apple and pear connotations – so, the question is, whether Appelblom, with its additional boost of calvados-driven flavours can both harmonise with the spirit, but also accentuate it.
Appelblom like other Seasonal, and Moment expressions is bottled at 46.1% and should be arriving in UK stores imminently. The retail cost is listed as £60 – though travellers to mainland Europe will already find it available there, and for a touch less. Boo to exchange rates.
Nose: Bright, vibrant and garden fresh – orchard is strong with this one. Candyfloss sweetness alongside caramel coated apples and freshly picked pears sit with vanilla cream, popcorn and toasted bread. At times, I almost feel as If I’m nosing a bourbon – brown sugars and macerated cherries also play their part – with butterscotch, desiccated coconut and a good whack of toasted cask head. The addition of water picks out some barley water and honey sweetness, but also a mineralitic side – limestone cliffs.
Taste: Orchards – but in confectionary form – apple and sour apple Jolly Rancher hard candy – sweet, sour and tangy. These give way to sharp lemon and growing spiciness – white pepper and nutmeg. There’s some interesting development with chopped almonds, and marzipan, before things return to more habitual ex-bourbon flavours – vanilla, toffee and a slab of sponge cake. Reduction adds a really rather pleasant creaminess – mille-feuille layered pastry with chantilly cream, and roasted nuts. Over time, a chalkiness starts to develop – crushed aspirin.
Finish: Medium with peppy white peppy and a fair wallop of modern sappy oak. The tangy apple-driven tart fruitiness is sustained and eases perception of the drying wood.
I’m not sure I can fully judge whether the Calvados has amped up the underlying flavours of the Mackmyra spirit here – certainly there’s a boatload of apple and pear – but I find that to be often the case with this spirit anyhow. Perhaps more pertinent, is the fact that the finish has not pushed anything out of balance – the result is fresh, quite precise and incredibly crisp. If anything, Appelblom represents a more single-minded expression of Mackmyra’s underlying character and in that regard I find it rather successful. Orchards a-plenty.