Swedish distiller Mackmyra have long been on my radar for their eclectic take on cask compositions – I rarely spot new releases from the distillery that simply focus on one cask type, or indeed, just one finishing liquid. Recently, I noticed the announcement for the eagerly awaited Mackmyra Moment Karibien – a rum influenced whisky created in collaboration with Plantation Rum. But, nothing is ever that simple with Mackmyra – Moment Kariben also includes small amounts of ex-oloroso and, rather curiously ex-cherry wine. I guess, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. For all the talk of innovation from the long established Scottish distilleries, you often need to look overseas for true examples of 21st Century experimentation unfettered by centuries of tradition and conventionality.
I’ve got several exciting engagements with Mackmyra in my diary in the first half of 2019, so The Dramble will certainly be writing much more about the budding Gävle-based distillery. In the meantime, here’s something from our liquid library – and its just as heterogeneous as one would expect.
Skordetid (Harvest) provides yet more reason to love Mackmyra’s product sheets, with a decent guide to the wood management that’s gone into creating the product. Primarily the expression is a blend of single malts (all from 1st fill casks) drawn from ex-amarone, ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso, supported by additional smaller parcels of liquid (also 1st fill) from ex-PX and ex-Mackmyra Reserve (30L private casks). Whilst not specified on the product sheet, the non-bourbon casks have all been utilised for finishing rather than full-term – in the case of the amarone from famous Italian wine producer Masi – roughly six months in duration.
The bottling forms part of Mackmyra’s growing Sasongswhisky series (seasonal) which includes nods to summer, winter, Ice and midnight. It’s bottled at 46.1% ABV and is available from Master of Malt for £47.95 as of writing.
Nose: Rather organic with oatmeal, porridge and barley sitting atop a base of refined sugars and grape spirit. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of fruitiness here – oranges (marmalade and blossom), green apples and desiccated coconut. After a while, the cask presents itself more firmly with vanilla and wood resin. In the background, earthiness, hobnob biscuits, marzipan and icing sugar. The addition of water livens things further with papaya and peaches as well as adding tobacco and baked bread.
Taste: Sweet and sour, sugary and spicy. Quite unusual. The arrival brings a compote of reduces sour berries and cherries. They’re joined by big pepper piquancy and wood influence – planking, chips, vanilla, coconut – a touch acrid. The mid-palate reveals a lemony note and some aspirin-like chalkiness. The back-palate returns more to the nose with greengade, grapes, breakfast cereals and barley. Reduction levels things off – sugary chalks, peaches and apricots – and improves the overall balance, but, at the expense of some of the most interesting topnotes.
Finish: Medium with lemon barley water, sappy oak and a touch of grassiness.
Skordetid is an curious composition that brings together a diverse selection of casks into something greater than the sum of their parts. Whilst it’s a bit too wood-forward for me in places, nevertheless, there’s quite a lot to like here – from the very natural feeling oatiness, though to the fascinating interplay of sweet, sour, sugar and spice. Well-made liquid, that’s got some real points of difference and is offered at a better price than many of Mackmyra’s more recent releases.