So, if you’d start a whisky distillery outside of one of the traditional whisky producing countries like Ireland, Scotland or the United States, you’d want that whisky to reflect where it is made, no? At least that’s how I feel. Mackmyra seems to share my sentiment. They’ve always been very outspoken about their Swedish heritage, which is reflected in their core collection by the Mackmyra Svensk Ek.
Svensk Ek translates to Swedish Oak. But actually the name is kind of misleading, as only about 10% of the Svensk Ek has been finished in Swedish oak casks for 18 months. The remaining 90% spent time in bourbon and sherry casks of varying sizes, like barrels, quarter casks en more of those small 30-litre casks. Even so, when tasting the whisky there’s a clear (to clear?) oak influence that certainly suggests the Swedish oak has had an impact.
The Swedish oak is grown on the island Visingsö. They’ve been growing there for hundreds of years, originally to built ships for the Swedish navy. The Swedish growing season is short, which would give the wood a tight grain, but there’s no information on the precise type of oak used.
Mackmyra Svensk Ek (46.1%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Big on vanilla with a hint of fresh hops and quite a bit of oak. Plenty spicy as well, like nutmeg and cracked black pepper corns. Finally some whiffs of pear skin and white grapes. Taste: I enjoy the oily mouthfeel, although it is somewhat tannic and has a slight woody bitterness, accompanied by the same spices. There’s touches of honey, but it is also quite herbal. Finish: Malty and spicy but on the shorter side.
Not my favourite Mackmyra but a decent drinker. It's rather straightforward and could do with some more depth. It seems as if the Swedish oak has overtaken much of the character.