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Mackmyra Swedish Whisky, Twitter and a blind tasting

Back in 2011 Colin Campbell announced that he was organizing a Twitter tasting of Mackmyra whisky in conjunction with Angela D’Orazio (Mackmyra’s master blender, or “Chief Nose Officer” as it says on her business card) using the #MackmyraBlind hash tag. Having taken part in a Twitter tasting (or twasting) before I knew how much fun they were and signed up immediately.

Mackmyra Svensk Whisky - a few days before the tasting

Unfortunately the original date for the tasting, December 15th, was pushed out, and pushed out again due to a plethora of reasons until February 8th 2012. That meant I had 5 numbered samples of Mackmyra whisky sitting in my office staring at me every day for weeks on end. As some of the other participants of the tasting mentioned, a great deal of self-restraint was necessary. But as the saying goes: “All good things that come to those who wait.” so I knew we were geared up for a great evening’s tasting.

Lars the Bear and 'his' Mackmyra sample

One thing I didn’t count on though was having to share my samples. When Lars the Bear found out that I would be sampling whiskies from his homeland he invited himself along. It’s amazing… He’s hardly said two words to me in the last couple of years and now I couldn’t get him to shut up. “Mackmyra this… Mackmyra that…” he went on and on as we were sitting in my home office waiting for the tasting to begin. He also planted himself next to sample number 5 claiming that this one belonged to him. I have a sneaky suspicion that he already knew what was in the bottles.

As we waited for the participants to come online. Colin (being a responsible co-ordinator) asked me if Lars was of legal drinking age to which I replied “Bearly”. I swear I heard a collective *GROAN* shudder through Twitter-dom.

And then it was time to start! Colin handed over the reins to Angela and we began working our way through the samples. (I’ve put the name of the sample in brackets – we didn’t know what we were tasting at the time.) I’ve listed some of my favourite tweets below, as well as some extra notes.

Mackmyra Sample #1 (Vit Hund)

Mackmyra Sample #1 - Vit Hund I’m not a huge fan of new make spirit, much preferring what comes out of the cask at the end as opposed to what goes into it at the start. Having said that, I enjoyed the diversity of flavours.
@sjoerd972:#Mackmyrablind So, tasting notes then? The first one is pretty sweet, but also has some vegetable notes. Potato, green beans. Rye even?
@WhiskyBrother: New make seems to smell like new make no matter where it’s from! I get the apple/pear concentrate, aniseed & herbal notes. #Mackmyrablind
@exmosis: Cor. Getting some corn-like graininess with ribena vodka to this one. Not what I was expecting πŸ™‚ #MackmyraBlind
@whiskywardrobe: On palate I get floral, really oily bouquet, notes of grapes, citrus and a bit of barley. But definitvely grappa. #mackmyrablind
@TheScotsdreamer: #MackmyraBlind the palette is smooth and thick though levelling out to a peppery tanginess. bits of orange pith (the white stuff)
@AngelasShare: Nr1 The aniseed is present- & the barley sugars. I love it- as a digestive with an espresso =) @thescotsdreamer @AngelasShare #MackmyraBlind

Mackmyra Sample #2 (Special07)

Mackmyra Sample #2 - Special 07 The Special07 has an absolutely amazing nose! On the palate it’s very different – I wished it tasted like it smelled. πŸ™‚
@fr1day: No2 smells like fresh, hot banana bread with melted butter! Yum!! #MackmyraBlind
@AWG_whisky: No.2 – Nose: Cocoa butter, vanilla, banana, a bit vegamite #MackmyraBlind
@WhiskyBrother: #MackmyraBlind #2: this is why I don’t waste time with new make! πŸ˜‰ Wonderful nose. Icing sugar dusted on flambed peach, crepe suzette!
@TheScotsdreamer: #MackmyraBlind i’m definately getting the dryness of the wood, and definately the thing i love about Mackmyra BANANA!
@hyltsonnenberg: @exmosis not my favourite on the pallete. Young IMHO but the nose is incredible πŸ˜€ #MackmyraBlind
@TheScotsdreamer: #MackmyraBlind I rarely add water to a Mackmyra i find it too good to really dilute (also don’t have any here tonight)

Mackmyra Sample #3 (Moment Rimfrost)

Mackmyra Sample #3 - Moment Rimfrost (Frost) An interesting whisky, with the flavour ranging all over the place. I’m looking forward to visiting what’s left of my sample to see what else I can discover in this dram.
@whiskywardrobe: Liquid nuts with a drop of lemon, vanilla and spices. #mackmyrablind
@AngelasShare: Nr.2 had some unusual notes due to the finish- very scandinavian the touch @thescotsdreamer @AngelasShare #MackmyraBlind
@AWG_whisky: No.3 – Nose: Cookie dough, salty broth, white pepper, some banana & vanilla once more #MackmyraBlind
@AngelasShare: Nr 3 has a mineral tone which I like, and the casks I picked up here had a lot of that… @thescotsdreamer @AngelasShare #MackmyraBlind
@WhiskyBrother: On to no.3 (not as good as no.2): candied lemon, baked apple crumble, soy sauce. Interesting combo to say the least! #MackmyraBlind
@AWG_whisky: No. 3 – Finish: Spicy, blueberries, a little bitter, longer finish as No.1 & No.2 #MackmyraBlind
@fr1day: NO3 palate – Nougat (as many have pointed out), white pepper and those sneaky minerals are lurking in the shadows #MackmyraBlind
@TheScotsdreamer: #MackmyraBlind i swear I got a bit of Hematite in the finish of #3 yes I do have a habit of putting stones in my mouth
@sjoerd972: #MackmyraBlind Wow! I just took a large gulp of water to clean the palate and tasted a blackberry BOMB! That’s a cool trick from Mackmyra!

Mackmyra Sample #4 (Moment Norrsken)

Mackmyra Sample #4 - Moment Norrsken (Northern Lights) @fr1day: No4 Acetone & pears on the nose initially #MackmyraBlind
@TheScotsdreamer: #MackmyraBlind #4 getting some dough on the nose followed by the light fruits and acetone.
@TheScotsdreamer: Yes sherbert! it’s a fizzyness in the nose RT @fr1day: No4 nose – lemon sherbert anyone? #MackmyraBlind
@sjoerd972: #mackmyrablind Pears on syrup. Canned. Definetly for me. Also the minerals from #3 with aceton and creme brulee.
@fr1day: No4 palate – sweet spices with the pears dancing around on my tongue with their lemondrop friends #MackmyraBlind
@AngelasShare: @whiskywardrobe Absolutely! Cardamom and cinnamon. And ginger? @thescotsdreamer @AngelasShare #MackmyraBlind
@AngelasShare: @TheScotsdreamer The influence is similar to the previous, but w more smoke tails in to spice it up a level… @AngelasShare #MackmyraBlind

Mackmyra Sample #5 (Smoky 30 litre ex-sherry 3 year old)

Mackmyra Sample #5 - Smoky 30 litre ex-sherry cask This is a fantastic whisky! And if you get your mates or whisky club members together, you too could own a 30 litre cask like the one that this sample came from. For more information, find Angela on Twitter or drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with her.
@whiskywardrobe: Smells of peat! and sherry! and the same footprint of the rest of Mackmyra. Interesting. #MackmyraBlind
@galg: @whiskywardrobe peat smoke and sherry the holy trinity.#mackmyrablind cc @AngelasShare
@sjoerd972: #mackmyrablind About #5: WTF?!?!? I NEVER tasted anything like this! Wood smoke and coffee!
@WhiskyBrother: No.5: Pipe smoke, old polished leather and dusty. Darker fruits now with the sweetness subdued. Wet burnt logs. #MackmyraBlind
@AWG_whisky: No.5 – Palate: Sweet, dry wood (European oak) influences, fresh grass, smoky grilled ham, raw nuts, spices, white pepper #MackmyraBlind
@exmosis: #MackmyraBlind Wow, lovely progression from nose to body to finish. Comes together really well.@galg: #5 palate: grilled ham in marinade, wood smoke, earthy, smoky, sweet, with sherry goodness. plums and figs all around #mackmyrablind
@peatreekwhisky: #5 is definitely my winner of the evening, perfect sherry use with enough smoke to intrigue! #MackmyraBlind

Still want more? Then have a look at these posts about the evening and the whiskies tasted by my fellow participants: Malt Facination, Whisky Israel and A Wardrobe of Whisky. (I’ll add more as they become available)

#MackmyraBlind whisky samples

The tasting lasted for just under 3 hours and the 14 participants (and a few observers too) sent over 500 tweets in that time! That’s impressive, but not as impressive as the Swedish whiskies tasted. Samples #2 and #5 stood out from the rest, with #2 (the Special07) having an absolutely wonderful nose, and #5 (the smoky, sherried 3yo) just an amazing flavour profile. Smoke and sherry – when done right, as in this case – are an awesome combination.

I’d like to thank Angela and Mackmyra for a truly enjoyable evening thanks to their brilliant whiskies, and to Colin for putting it all together. I hope that this experience, and the participants’ blog posts, helps to shine a spotlight on this Swedish distillery and their great range of products. With the recent opening of Mackmyra’s new gravitational distillery and it’s increased output I look forward to seeing Mackmyra’s expansion into the global market as that will mean I may one day be able to pick up a bottle or three at my local liquor outlet.

SlΓ‘inte!

5 Comments

  1. February 14, 2012    

    very nice!

    was a pleasure tasting

  2. February 14, 2012    

    Lovely post man, and the stories of Lars the Bear. It took me a while to get what that was about…

    Thanks for the links!

    Sjoerd

  3. February 14, 2012    

    Great post. I also spend a great night. Although the taste longed more than I expected πŸ™‚

    Great whiskies and great people. I can’t ask anymore. I love #2 also.

  4. February 16, 2012    

    Great summary of the event. I really like the way you’ve captured the tweets for each sample. Still kicking myself for missing this.

    • Mark Mark
      February 16, 2012    

      Thanks Patrick – it’s a bit of a mission going through all 500+ tweets and extracting the nuggets of gold, but I think it conveys the feel of the event more. Of course I add in some of my own thoughts and impressions of the drams tasted but I enjoy capturing and sharing the experience more than solely writing up my own tasting notes πŸ™‚

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