Try it with: Romeo y Julieta No 1 Cuban cigar, Kung Po scallops (Chinese), Prawns with chili and basil (Thai), fresh prawns/seafood
Mackmyra is a whisky distillery located in Sweden. It is the brainchild of eight friends who, tucked away in a mountain lodge in the spring of 1998, wondered why there was no Swedish whisky in the vast ocean of whisky in the world. Mackmyra was born a year later in 1999 and the first drops of their Swedish whisky were distilled on 18 December 1999. Mackmyra now produce a range of interesting, refreshingly different and, I’ll admit, pretty darn exciting expressions that make use of Swedish oak (which is said to infuse whisky with a fiery spiciness) and a signature “Mackmyra smoke” (peat flavoured with fresh juniper twigs) to produce whisky that is not only distinctly Swedish but unmistakably Mackmyra.
Mackmyra Special 07 is crafted by combining two different types of whiskies, a smoky style of whisky made with juniper smoke and a more elegant style whisky. Once combined these whiskies are finished in casks that have been saturated in cloudberry wine, and it is this finishing that gives this whisky its unique and very satisfying taste.
Cloudberries are members of the rose family and are closely related to raspberry, blackberry, and thimbleberry, but unlike their more familiar cousins they are native to the snowforests, tundra and bogs that circle the Arctic and can be found in Scandinavia, most of Alaska, parts of Canada and the northern parts of Russia. People in Nordic countries and in Canada use cloudberries to make jams, top pancakes, ice cream and waffles or make delicious sounding desserts (probably the least appetizing to me is “Eskimo ice cream” which is made with seal oil and reindeer fat). For the more careless among us, cloudberry tea was believed to cure urinary tract infections (just saying). It did not take the Scandinavians long to realise that whatever has sugar can be fermented into an alcoholic beverage, so cloudberry wine – with all its delicious berry rich flavours – was born. It goes without saying that Mackmyra’s use of barrels saturated in cloudberry wine to finish this whisky infuses it with a distinctly Scandianvian character that is very rarely found in other whiskies, and coupled with its flavours of juniper smoke and spicy Swedish oak the Mackmyra Special 07 is definitely a whisky to try before you die!
Mackmyra Special 07 beautifully matched the flavours of a Romeo y Julieta No 1 Cuban cigar, fresh seafood and some Asian seafood dishes. The whisky’s smooth creamy entry and proceeding sweet glow of pear, apples and honey refreshed the palate and cleansed it of the taste of the cigar, and the Swedish oak and spice that then followed on the drying finish accentuated and complimented the woody and leathery notes that were released from the smooth smoke of the Romeo y Julieta No 1. The drying winy finish also complimented and cut through seafood, particularly the sweet bite of freshly peeled prawns or the fiery bite of sugary Kung Po scallops or stir fry prawns with Chili and Basil.
The bouquet immediately presents with lemon and hints of banana slicing through cream, sliced green apple, white chocolate, raisins, licorice, white wine, berries and a mild hue of juniper smoke with a gentle whiff of pinecone. On the palate the whisky is clean, smooth and creamy – undertones of white wine and grape skins merge with green apple, then at mid-palate the sweet glow of pear, apples and honey emerges and then fades into a drying and mildly astringent finish with undertones of spice from the Swedish oak. The finish is tart and drying, with the lingering aftertaste of a dry white wine and more pronounced wood notes with hints of spice.
Overall, Mackmyra Special 07 is a whisky that creatively marries the flavours of mild juniper smoke, spicy Swedish oak and berry rich Cloudberry wine with an underlying sweet glow of fruity malt to create a whisky that is so uniquely Scandinavian it makes me want to drink to the tune of Helan Går or leap out of my chair and dance the to the polska. It is now a personal favourite of mine, and perfect with a mild to medium strength cigar.