Mackmyra continues to explore many avenues of experimentation and innovation. I covered their new Grönt Te a few weeks ago, but last year, the brand made headlines all over the world with the release of Mackmyra Intelligens, the first whisky in the world where AI (artificial intelligence) had been involved in the creation of a single malt whisky. Sales data, customer preferences and all of the distillery’s existing recipes were fed to the AI, which in turn generated more than 70 million recipes.
Fortunately, master blender Angela D’Orazio didn’t have to process all 70 million recipes herself. Instead she received a number of recipes in batches; about 1,000 in total. Many recipes were thrown out, either because they didn’t meet expectations or there wasn’t sufficient stock. But some stood out. One has been used to create Mackmyra Intelligens. Others might come to reality in the future as succeeding batches.
Traditional blenders might feel threatened by the idea of having a computer program taking over a part of your job, but not D’Orazio. For this Distiller piece, she told me that she “felt very inspired and challenged by this idea and all the possibilities. […] It was a delight. I used the program as a tool to do my work. The result was fantastic: we got a really good whisky out of it.”
Time to find out if I agree with her.
Mackmyra Intelligens AI:01 (46.1%, OB, 2019)
Nose: Sweet breakfast cereals and gentle orchard fruits like pears, but also a touch of mango and butterscotch. A whiff of raw sugar and toffee too, then greener notes of eucalyptus, even some ginger. Taste: It’s herbal, spicy and oaky, but with enough sweetness and fruitiness to keep things interesting and (most importantly) balanced. Soft pepper, subtle citrus, a tinge of saw dust and a whiff of quince. Finish: The spices linger. Slightly dry. Aniseed. Ends on sweeter notes.
Although I’ve never had Mackmyra that doesn’t fit this description, the Intelligens is not an in-your-face whisky. It’s rather subtle, gentle, and laidback, but remains very interesting nonetheless.