Mackmyra Midnattssol (Birch Sap Finish) Swedish whisky

mackmyra midnattsol

Mackmyra Midnattssol is a limited edition release by Sweden’s Mackmyra distillery. It is aged in ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks, and casks made from both American and Swedish oak.  It is then finished in casks that previously held birch sap wine. 

What is birch sap wine? Let me explain.

Continue reading “Mackmyra Midnattssol (Birch Sap Finish) Swedish whisky”

The St Agnes XO brandy trio – 15, 20 and 40 year olds

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Since a single cask expression of Sullivan’s Cove French Oak won the world’s best single malt in the 2014 World Whiskies Awards, Australian whisky has taken the world by storm and demand for many Australian malts now outstrips supply. This success has largely been buoyed by heightened global interest in whisky which is nothing short of a renaissance. Another spirit, which is viewed by many as a “malternative” to whisky but has not yet had a renaissance of its own, is brandy.

Continue reading “The St Agnes XO brandy trio – 15, 20 and 40 year olds”

Glenmorangie Companta

Glenmorangie Companta

Rating: ★★★★

Type: Single malt whisky

Origin: Highlands, Scotland

ABV: 46%

Overall reaction:  😀

Glenmorangie Companta is said to be inspired by the travels of Dr Bill Lumden, Master Distiller of Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, through the vineyards of France and the friends he met along the way. Suitably called “Companta” (which is Scots Gaelic for “friendship”), this whisky is matured in American oak casks then extra matured in Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart and fortified wine casks from Côtes du Rhône. This extra maturation in these ex-French wine casks, as the below tasting notes indicate, seems to give the whisky an oaky and spicy kick that is softened by layers cooked fruit, berry jam and cherry rocky road. 

Nose:

The American oak, radiating with vanilla and coconut, beams through textured layers of cranberry, cashews, hay, honey, chocolate, port glazed dates and cherry ripe. While sweet, the bouquet also offers gusts of drying wine and occasionally notes of fruit cake and pear salad with red wine vinegar emerge.  

Taste:

The bite of wood and sharp winy notes is softened by cherry and rose rocky road, caramel and mixed berry jam, and in the backdrop sits a creaminess interwoven with citrus marmalade. Then comes the spice – mostly rigid and peppery – with varying shades of oak and the curious occasional snaps of bitter flowers.

Finish:

The finish offers an electric foray of spice, amidst berry compote, guava and wood. As the spice dies the finish remains warming, and the alcohol fumes off the tongue with mild herbal undertones.

Bottom line:

Buy it, if you want to explore the flavours that can be infused into American oak matured whisky by additional maturation in ex-French wine Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart and fortified wine casks from Côtes du Rhône. The whisky ignites the palate with spice, berry jam and cherry rocky road in particular, but this complex little number always has a pleasant surprise up her sleeve – a very interesting and tasty dram, highly recommended.

Match with: 

After trying this whisky over some Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream, the sight of the Glenmorangie symbol now makes me salivate on cue like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Try Glenmorangie Companta with a good quality ice cream packed with cookie, nuts or fruit. This whisky also paired nicely with a number of medium strength cigars that offer some spice and wood,  along with chicory bitterness – try it with Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills Cubans or La Gloria Cubana Dominicans.

Reisetbauer 7 year old

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Rating: ★★★★

Origin: Austria

Type: Whisky

ABV: 43%

Price: $US85 (USA)

Reisetbauer is a distillery in Austria that produces brandy and whisky.  In 1995 Reisetbauer started distilling malt whisky that was designed to be (and is) distinctly Austrian. The barley used to make the wash is grown on the distillery owner’s four hectares of land and once the wash is distilled the new make spirit is matured in Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese casks sourced exclusively from Austrian vineyards and used by Austrian winemakers Alois Kracher and Heinz Velich. Just in case you are wondering how on Earth to pronounce Trockenbeerenauslese, it is TROCK-en-BEHR-en-OWS-lay-zeh.

Reisetbauer’s use of Austrian Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese casks to mature their whisky is a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by whisky aged in the bourbon casks, sherry casks or port casks. Wine casks are certainly becoming increasingly popular for ageing or finishing whisky, but the use of Trockenbeerenauslese casks by Reisetbauer is something particularly special. This is because Trockenbeerenauslese is a notoriously expensive dessert wine that is made from grapes that, once affected by a form of fungus known as “noble rot”, are individually selected and handpicked one by one. Shriveled and raisin-like from the “noble rot”, the grapes produce a wine with an intensely sweet and rich flavour.

In this review Malt Mileage tastes the Reisetbauer 7 year old.

Nose:

Immediately floral notes appear, with in particular potpourri and wilted rose petals, intermingling with chili dark hot chocolate and a foamy scented soap alongside a burning wax candle and undertones of vanilla. In typical Reisetbauer fashion, this whisky delivers such a unique bouquet that shifts its form as it rests in the glass. The floral and soapy notes soften as the whisky rests, and out comes fabric, gym socks and leather boxing mitts with sweet brandied orange segments dusted in cocoa and green peppercorns. Then a nuttiness develops, almost roasted chestnuts but not quite, as the chocolate theme continues but in the form of milk chocolate coated hazelnuts. The spritz of lime sits in the background, flickering gently but never really competing with the other aromas. With some more time, cherry ripe appears – coconut, dark chocolate and dried cherries – with notes of white wine that become more pronounced with each sniff.  

Palate:

Find chocolate, vanilla, honey, caramel, mars bar and mixed berries on the entry, and then coconut, hints of wood and a quick shimmer of floral scented soap at mid-palate, which quickly fades into the finish. Also mid way through the berries become darker and slightly sour for a moment, but then a sweetness takes over.

Finish:

On the finish the whisky sweetens with syrupy and sappy sugars, cherry chocolate liqueur and ice cream sticks with a powdery note similar to vanilla and strawberry protein powder and nutmeg.  That would make Arnie happy, no doubt!  

Bottom line:

Consider it! Reisetbauer 7 year old struck me as a whisky with a nice balance that took me on an interesting roller coaster ride of flavours. It is less herbal than the Reisetbauer 12 year old, but an enjoyable whisky that showcases the unique way whisky can develop in Austrian wine casks to produce some delicious flavours – especially honey, floral, caramel, powdery and berry notes. It may, as a result, have some flavours that whisky drinkers are not commonly used to… but that isn’t a reason to snub this excellent Austrian whisky. Give it a go. 

Match with:

This whisky matched nicely with a mild to medium cigar made with a Sumatran wrapper cigar, to bring out its floral notes. It also went particularly well with an ACID Blondie to draw out the honey and caramels. In terms of food, try it with a berry cheesecake to really accentuate the berry and sugary notes.

Mackmyra Misdattssol

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Score: 93/100

ABV: 46.1%

Origin: Sweden

Mackmyra Midnattssol is a limited edition Swedish whisky that has been crafted, its makers say, for bright summer nights. It is matured in sherry casks, bourbon casks and casks made from Swedish and American oak, but the ingenuity of this whisky comes from the fact that it is finished in casks that previously held wine made from birch sap. Yes, birch sap.

As winter draws closer to spring, deciduous trees that have stored sugar in their roots begin to move sugar upwards in their sap. The maple and birch are two trees that produce an edible sap in plentiful supply, so when these trees begin brimming with sap as winter warms people extract that sap and do many wonderful things with it. One of those things is to produce wine, with some help from some good natured yeast which converts all that lovely sugar into even more lovely alcohol. Mackmyra had the idea to finish its whisky in casks that have held birch sap wine to infuse its whisky with the distinctive flavours and aromas of that birch sap wine. Sounds good to me!

The nose presents with a sappy sweetness that radiates vanilla ice cream, varnished wood, raw cedar, sawdust, blueberries and blackberries, banana, anise seed, licorice, dark chocolate, mild coconut, raisins and English style pot still rum with undertones of raw sugar, spice and petals.  On the palate the whisky is less sweet and fruity than the nose suggests, immediately thumping the taste buds with a woody textured bitter citrus rind that gradually dries into the mid-palate when sawdust, spice, dark chocolate coated licorice and mild undertones of vanilla develop with a herbal cough drop glow and honey drizzled over forest berries. The sappy note detected on the nose returns in the finish but loses its sweetness to a woody and astringent dryness that is counterbalanced by the creamy aftertaste of a Sambuca spiked espresso affogato, the sweet bitterness of lime wedges in chinotto and the curious faint shine of menthol similar to the vapour of tiger balm.

Overall, Mackmyra Midnattssol is a creative whisky that harmoniously fuses an array of flavours that are difficult to find in most other whiskies on the market, thanks in part to the fact that the Midnattssol has been matured in Swedish oak and finished in casks that previously held birch sap wine – find the most curious fusion of fruit, citrus, sap and herbal notes with the more familiar vanillas from American oak to smooth it all out. This is a complex and interesting whisky with lots of depth to explore within its layers of integrated and balanced flavours. If you do decide to have a rendezvous with this whisky make sure you cancel your plans, this Swedish beauty deserves your undivided attention.

Veuve Moisans Brut

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Score: 93/100 (average, three tasters)

ABV: 11%

Origin: France

Try it with: Spicy Chinese seafood (prawns, oysters or scallops with XO sauce/schezwan sauce), picante salami

Veuve Moisans is a sparkling wine from France. Wine with bubbles is often called “champagne”, but while all champagne is bubbly wine not all bubbly wine is champagne. Only the bubbly wine produced in the Champagne region of France can be called “champagne”, while bubbly wine produced outside the Champagne region is known as “sparkling wine”. Veuve Moisans is a sparkling wine.

Malt Mileage has been fortunate to taste and review the Veuve Moisans Brut. “Brut” is a term used in wine speak to give consumers an idea of how dry a wine might be, because under European Union guidelines a “Brut” wine must have a sugar content of no more than 12 grams per litre (though there may be differences between “Brut” wine produced by different companies because the sugar content of the wine may vary). A “Brut” wine sits towards the drier end of the wine spectrum because from most dry to sweet, the classification of wine sweetness/dryness is as follows: Brut Nature (0-3 grams sugar per litre), Extra Brut (0-6 grams per litre), Brut (0-12 grams sugar per litre), Exra Dry/Extra Sec/Extra seco (12-17 grams sugar per litre), Dry/Sec/Seco (17-32 grams sugar per litre), Demi-Sec/Semi-seco (32-50 grams sugar per litre) and Doux/Sweet/Dulce (50+ grams sugar per litre).

If a wine does not last very long on the table and it is quickly consumed, then it is a safe bet that the wine is very good. Between three separate tasters (including myself), the Veuve Moisans Brut vanished very quickly and within half an hour of the cork being popped the last few drops of this sparkling wine was happily consumed. The Veuve Moisans Brut, despite being labeled “Brut”, had a subtle dryness that was nicely balanced by the fruit in the wine which meant that it was very drinkable with or without food. It is, however, a sparkling wine that I would recommend be enjoyed with he right foods. The Veuve Moisans Brut was beautifully matched with spicy Chinese seafood dishes such as prawns, scallops and oysters with XO sauce or schezwan sauce, and, to my delight, my grandmother’s picante salami. The subtle but crisp dryness and fruity sweetness of the Veuve Moisans Brut complimented and accentuated the seafood while at the same time taming and cutting through the salt, pepper, chilli and oil in the food to refresh and clear the palate.

Comparatively speaking, the Veuve Moisans Brut was very impressive and three of us unanimously agreed that it was among the most pleasant dry sparkling wines we have tasted. Having become quite familiar with Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow, Dom Pérignon Brut and Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial over the years (devouring a bottle of these champagnes on special occasions such as on birthdays, new years eve, Christmas, graduations etc), the Veuve Moisans left us wondering why we ever bothered to spend more money than we had to for a good “Brut” sparkling wine.  

Veuve Moisans Brut is a beautifully balanced sparkling wine that is fresh, crisp, summery and vibrant with flavours of tart yellow peach that morph into sliced green apples, strawberry and sultana toward the finish, as floral undertones and a mild underripe stone fruit acidity shimmer in the distance.