Tuesday 5 February 2013

Mackmyra Tweet Tasting

Kat: I jumped at the chance at representing the UK in a synchronised worldwide Mackmyra tweet tasting on the 23rd of January. For this tasting there were 5 mystery drams which arrived at my desk at work in December. The only information that was offered was that each sample was labelled 1 – 5, that there was 50 ml of each sample and there was a range in colour of each whisky. To keep it a completely mystery I didn't even take a sneaky peak. 

When I opened the package I had to do a double take (quizzically staring at the samples with my head cocked to one side really hoping these were whisky samples and not medical samples that had lost their way to a lab, with some poor sick eagerly soul waiting on the results of what is causing their illness) while my workmates giggled like little kids teasing me that its pee. 

Joking aside, this was only the second time I had sampled Swedish whisky. The first was at the Whisky Exchange Show in October last year. 

Dave: I on the other hand accidentally gatecrashed the #Mackmyra2013 Tweet Tasting a couple of weeks back. A number of participants around the world were invited to take part in this event which was first scheduled for sometime in December, but was rescheduled for January 23rd. 

I came home from work one evening to find Kat (she moved out a while back) and ten Glencairns laid out with five different blind expressions from Mackmyra to taste. When I arrived the event had already started so quickly had to catch up, using dram number one as a palate cleanser after a quick nose (sorry!)

The drams were being tasted blind, so we had no idea what expressions we were tasting, and were not told until the following day. I had already been sent some Mackmyra samples to taste, however was told not to release any notes until after the Tweet Tasting. I had put the samples away safely to avoid temptation and only lined them up while watching the opening games of the Six Nations Rugby on Saturday. All four of the samples I had been sent featured on the tweet tasting, and so had the luxury to really get to know three of the whiskies in my own time.

The order of the Tweet Tasting ran as below and I've added some of the highlight tweets from the participants as well as my own thoughts on each. We were told that the last sample we would be tasting was not a whisky, but a liqueur. In all three were totally new 'Whisky Discoveries' and are registered as such on the 'Liquid Log', however we had both come across the Special 09 at The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show in October were we spent some time with the lovely Angela D'Orazio and tasted both the Special 05 and 09 in the whisky and food pairing section of the show. 

The tweet tasting was hosted by Colin Campbell @TheScotsdreamer and Angela D'Orazio @AngelasShare Mackmyra's very own Master Blender

I thought it would be interesting to hide my original tweets and other notes and re-taste the samples, writing new notes during and have included both sets where applicable.

Whisky Discovery #204

Mackmyra Special 09 Vildhallon NAS (46.1% abv)
Swedish Single Malt
Not found for sale in UK yet
Mackmyra Swedish Whisky

The Special 09 is Swedish malt whisky with intense berry and fruity notes, being finished in casks that have previously stored wine made from wild raspberries. The base spirit was laid down to mature in casks between 2003 and 2006 and stored deep down in the Bodås mine. 

Official Tasting Notes:
The nose is berry and spicy with a complex palette of fruity citrus aromas, prominent sweet raspberry, ripe pears as well as spicy cask notes such as sandalwood, cedar wood, vanilla and toast. The palate is fruity, berry and spicy with raspberry, citrus, pear and roasted oak. The texture is slightly oily and medium rich. The aftertaste is long and berry with prominent spice.

Angela told us that the cask make up of this release contains a lot of Swedish fruit wine casks, some first-fill ex-sherry, some ex-bourbon and Swedish oak, plus some new American Oak.

I came into the tweet tasting halfway through this dram so didn't manage to get hold of all of the initial tweets regarding this expression, however these are the favourites I picked:

@sjoerd972: Palate: pretty hot, less woody than the nose at first. slightly tangy with vanilla and caramel Bourbon sweetness. Good stuff
@PresleyKa: I'm getting marzipan and a hint of talc or baby powder. And getting strong green oak smells now.
@Whiskylassie: The wood influence seems to be well balanced, not overwhelming. Again very clean, crisp!
@angels_share: Palate Nutty/almond, bitter and dry. Oily
@galg: Palate: starting peppery and spicy then moving to sweet cloying apples, some dried papaya. grapefruit too. candy too
@sjoerd972 There's a lot going on, right? no wonder with so many different casks involved!
@Whiskylassie: Interesting polar opposite from nose to palate for me. Buttery sweetness gone, more flat and minty...
@TheScotsdreamer: Impression: Fantastic and complex nose, fruity yet green and woody, with a banana, almond and peppery taste, dry finish

So what did We think?

Kat: The nose was very light, delicate with a wonderful floral bouquet that is not over powering like spring blossoms. There’s a touch of honey, marzipan, hint of talc, dry straw, and green oak.

I wasn't disappointed in the taste. The honey notes came through with a lovely fruitiness of soft berries which is so different from any other whiskies that I have tried so far. It’s got a mix berry jam quality but not sickly sweet as the bitter medicinal herb quality balances out the sweetness. There’s also a pinch of warming spices but this is only there for a brief moment leaving behind a short dry fruity finish. 

Dave: Like I said earlier, I quickly nosed and quaffed this on the Tweet Tasting so was pleased to find that I have been sent a sample of this, so while I have no tweets of this dram, I did have plenty of time to enjoy and saviour this malt on a leisurely Saturday afternoon.

The nose opened up with some sweet honey, but with very little time to air starts giving and much more spicy oak aroma. If you don't get you nose over this the instant you pour you'll miss it! The sweetness returns with some spicy white pepper, with the sweetness developing into berry fruits. There is also a hint of vanilla lurking in the background. Returning to this dram after giving it plenty of time to air the nose is really quite perfumed.

On the palate it is quite sweet on entry, with a sweet and creamy mouth feel, before the gentle spicy build up make the taste a little sharper. Vanilla is more pronounced on the palate that the nose. There's hardwood sawdust notes and a gooseberry tartness. Again returning to this after some time to air there was a lovely spicy aniseed taste to this.

The finish is a combination of many of the above notes before fading to leaving a very dry finish.

Whisky Discovery #300

Mackmyra Moment 'Källa' NAS (53.4% abv)
Swedish Single Malt
Not found for sale in UK yet

Mackmyra Swedish Whisky
The Mackmyra Moment series comes from their most exclusive casks, hand-picked by Master Blender Angela D'Orazio 

Since the number of casks per bottling are so few, the editions in the Moment series are very limited. 

The first editions released were Moment 'Medvind' and Moment 'Urberg' that where launched on 15 December 2010

Källa meaning 'Source' in English is the tenth release in the Moment Series and contains some of the first casks that were filled in the Bruk distillery.

Official Tasting Notes:
The nose is berry and spicy with peppery cask notes
The palate is fruity, berry and spicy with prominent butterscotch and a soft spicy oakiness
The after-taste is long, herbal and spicy.

Some of my favourite tweets for Källa:
@TheScotsdreamer: Nose: definitely Floral, slightly salty and hints of green fruits, little hint of the alcohol at the back
@ulvmane: Chocolate and toffee for me. A mature nose.With the pear and bananas far away in the back. a little woody
@angels_share: Nose: again forest fresh notes, wood, some red fruits, wash, polish, butter
@PresleyKa: Getting damp woodland floor/hot compose heap (sweet musky woody notes) and rich dried fruits
@sjoerd972: Has acetone on the nose for sure! more spirity, musky notes indeed, wet leaves, hay
@Whiskylassie: Calming down now, dried red fruit, like cherries or blueberries maybe. Wood is coming through a bit more then #1
@angels_share: Nose: bit winy and pungent/acetic
@tevenLin1969: High strength, white cocoa,vanilla and butter sweet, kinda smoky bitter.. Like flaming passion
@sjoerd972: It has a pinkish hue, which would make me guess a wine cask of some sort. The nose supports that guess. Red fruits, charcoal
@galg: Nose. Spice and fruit. some marmalade. thick stuff. Guess it's a wine cask.
@angels_share: Palate: sweet, red fruit, sultana, walnuts. Oily, creamy woody with a final freshness. Strength around 55 I guess

So what did We think?

Kat: Initially I got moth balls and over ripe bananas, quite fruity - cook darker berries and plums, sherry notes, dry oak, crème caramel, hints spices (mace & nutmeg), floral bouquet, coriander seeds and there’s some nutty/oil notes like toasted walnuts. 

Similar to the first whisky this is lovely fruity whisky, this one to me is more like mulled wine as its also got some cinnamon coming through. This has got a more syrupy consistency than the previous. The finish is of the mull wine characters. 

Dave: This was another of the samples received, so spent some quality time with this after the tweet tasting  It's golden in colour and a little darker than the Special 09. Checking back through my tweets for this expression when tasting it blind for the first time:

Nose: spicy, peppery, some sweet vanilla under the high octane alcohol content. Getting some fresh hardwood notes too. Sweet butterscotch notes, not as spicy as the first dram, with some water has become more floral on the nose too
Palate: With water a little peppery spice, sweet butterscotch notes and some green hardwood. Spicier on the finish with herbal notes
Finish: Very nutty dryness now, walnuts I think I heard some say (well read your tweets)

So now the leisurely Saturday afternoon notes, and on the nose it's peppery and spicy with toffee notes and some pineapple, not fresh pineapple, but pineapple as it is starting to ferment itself (I like it!) It's woody, oaky and again there is some sweet vanilla hiding in the background along with some nutmeg, the toffee notes evolved to more Butterkist popcorn. Returning to this after giving it time to air more sweet candy notes had developed.

The palate was sweet on entry with a spicy, oaky build-up with more toffee notes. The palate however is not as sweet as the nose and after time in the glass a more lemony flavour lying under the spice giving a spicy sweet tang

Again this whisky has quite a dry nutty finish to it's gentle sweetness and spicy pepper.

Whisky Discovery #301

Mackmyra Moment Glöd, NAS (51,2% abv)
Swedish Single Malt
Not found for sale in UK yet

Mackmyra Swedish Whisky
Glöd meaning Glow is the eleventh release from the Moment series and is defined as a spicy and smoky whisky and finished in Gluhwein (Swedish Mold Wine) casks

Official Tasting Notes:
The nose is fruity and spicy with elements from the spices of Christmas, butterscotch, toast, almonds, raisins, pears, citrus and oak. The smokiness is well integrated with juniper and Swedish peat.

The palate is fruity, smoky, and spicy with dried fruits, butterscotch, citrus, liquorice and vanilla

The after-taste is long and fruity with a soft oakiness

Some of my favourite tweets for Glöd:
@TheScotsdreamer: Nose: herb garden and a bag of bon-bons, honey, banana again and a tiny bit of metal.
@angels_share: Nose: again this "Swedish forest" character with fresh hints. Nutmeg. Dried apricot. Amaretto.
@ulvmane: Cypress, warm garden nursery, fruits and herbs
@galg: We're not in Kansas anymore! are we? this one is very very different
@galg: Am i the only one getting some smoke here?
@Whiskylassie: You have to rub some on your hands! Huge discovery!!!
@sjoerd972: Corsican myrthe, licorice, some wood smoke (not peat), fried bananas (the Indonesian stuff). Very, very different!
@TheScotsdreamer: WOW the palate on this is fantastic, again slightly different to the nose but phenomenal!
@Whiskylassie: You may think I'm nuts but I get grease and smoke, like burgers dripping fat on your BBQ!
@sjoerd972: Sweet pastry, fried bananas, BBQ pork, kind of greasy with a heap of alcohol. lots of spices, marinade, myrtle, WOW!
@galg: Palate is very nice: all those smoked bananas, meat, leather, sausage   and a sherry sort of sweet marinate.
@TheScotsdreamer: Impression: herby and sweet on the nose, bananas and wood. Complex in the mouth, herbs, smoke slightly oily and fruity
@StevenLin1969: A lot of spicy flavour, pepper, cinnamon with sweet, beautiful balance. Powerful strength, can burn the throat

So what did We think?

Kat: The nose of this whisky is definitely more robust of sweet cigars/pipe tobacco, the fruity berry characters is the same this time I make it as blackberries that’s still got some sour acidity to it and pears. With some water it brings out bitter roasted coffee bean aromas.

For the taste, a very interesting one this one, firstly there’s a bitter note similar to pine needles, fruity sweetness which reminded me of a Black Forest Gateau minus the cream. Then you get the peat smoke which changes the character to a BBQ and vinegar flavour for me. These flavours to my surprise created a balance. It’s very spicy at 51.2% so I had to add some water with this one but the finish was still spicy and fruity. 

Dave: My descriptive tweets read as below, but there were a few more agreeing with the other participants notes and well as tweeting how this one had become my favourite of the evening so far, and remained my favourite at the end of the event.

Nose: Definite smoky note underlying on the nose, also getting some kelp, sweet candy, spicy wood. Nice!
Great spicy finish to this one too. I'm not getting the coffee bean note, but a liquorice like note. I also returned to nose this one while nosing the fourth dram and tweeted: go back and nose #3 now, smoky heather and lavender notes now

From my Saturday afternoon notes Glöd is the colour of dark straw. It's  sweet and smoky on the nose, big, rich, meaty and spicy. the initial smoky note evolves to a thick sweet sherry like note, there is lots of fruit including some slightly under-ripe strawberries, mmm delicious!

The strawberry returned on the thick sweet, smoky, peaty palate for me. There's a fair amount of peppery spice and some earthy notes.

Whisky Discovery #302

Mackmyra Moment Skog NAS (52,4%abv) 
Swedish Single Malt
Not found for sale in UK yet

Mackmyra Swedish Whisky
Skog was the seventh release in the Moment series and has an intense, fruity cask notes and character from Mackmyra whisky matured in casks saturated with Swedish berry wine, made from lingonberry and blueberry. 

The flavours of the forest flourish through this whisky, with a rich foliage of fruity notes from the lingonberry and blueberry, gently wrapped in a light veil of smoke. The nose is a complex palette of berries and spicy cask notes.

Official Tasting Notes:
Color: darker golden amber.

Aroma: Lots of forest aromas with tannins, earth, juniper, light peat smoke and spice.
Mouth: Fruity, berry, winy, smoky and spicy with dark cherries, pear and roasted oak. Dry fruit, nutty with well integrated spice and herbs. Medium to thick texture.
Aftertaste: oak, some juniper and peat smoke, fruit and spice. A quite long aftertaste.

Some of my favourite tweets for Skog:
@StevenLin1969: A lot of spicy flavour, pepper, cinnamon with sweet, beautiful balance. Powerful strength, can burn the throat, but we can't forget the most beautiful thing is always born from the fire

@angels_share: Nose: vanilla, yellow fruit/mango?, some winy/muscat notes, corn/malt, burned sugar 
@TheScotsdreamer: Nose: Peaches and Clemantines, lady finger bananas (again) and candyfloss and a bit grassy
@ulvmane: Vanilla as in marshmallows . Sweets. Fruity. A "creamy feel in the nose"
@sjoerd972: Smells a bit more mature. A lot of wood but in a gentle way. Barley, fairly straight forward. slightly spicy, slightly sweet
@Whiskylassie: Back to clean, crisp and traditional Mackmyra.
@galg: Quite woody too on the palate, sweet and perfumed wood that is. goes well with that vanilla ice cream
@angels_share: Palate sweet, malty. Alcohol is strong, will benefit of some drops of water. Became immediately oily, long finish, spices.
@Whiskylassie: Nose about 1 inch from glass: bourbon soaked golden sultanas!
@ulvmane: I find the arrak in here a hint of rum sweetness.The candy floss has turned to burnt sugar.And spices. tannins? Woody vanilla?
@angels_share: Palate woody, peach nut, vanilla. bitter cherries. Dry and long finish inviting for next sip
@sjoerd972: Getting more vanilla as some alcohol evaporates. But mostly barley, burnt sugar, quite some ethanol on the nose.
@Whiskylassie: Again may sound like a strange descriptor, A walk in the woods after a rain storm. Fresh, earthy, clean...
@sjoerd972: Palate: sharpish, slightly bitter like peach stones, barley, bread crust, wood. and then vanilla. and more vanilla.
@TheScotsdreamer: Impression: Peaches, Banana, Candyfloss, a French Patisserie in the morning on the nose, leading to a woody spicy mouth

So what did We think?

Kat: I got on the nose vanilla, toasted granary bread, green mangos or dried mangos with a slight oil quality, and some spices but couldn’t put my finger on exactly which spices. 

The green herb notes came through strongly initially then mellows out to the background. Soft berry notes are also present but I found it hard to make out exactly what they are as this is quickly followed by toast flavour. The toast is more like table water crackers and same as eating to many crackers, it leaves a dry mouth feel. 

Dave: With no sample of this to return to, I only have my tweet tasting notes to go by: 

Another spicy peppery dram on the nose, no smoke to this one though, clean and fresh, some sweet toffee, peach stones, and lots of vanilla. After some time in the glass it became much sweeter with some honey notes. I found that this whisky had the closest profile to a Speyside Scotch

Dram Number 5

Mackmyra Bee Honey Whisky Liqueur (22% abv)
Whisky Liqueur
Not found for sale in UK yet

Mackmyra Swedish Whisky
Bee is a Swedish liqueur with whisky and honey, made from Swedish whisky, malt vodka and organic honey. The honey is produced in the surroundings of Gävle and Valbo, and consists mainly of dandelion, linden and forest honey with hints of raspberry flowers.
The colour is an amber yellow and the nose is fruity, berry and complex with notes of honey, cask wood, vanilla and coffee. The palate is delicious and honey sweet with aromas of demerara sugar, vanilla and butterscotch with light cask notes in the background. The aftertaste is slightly honey sweet with notes of almond, coffee and citrus.Contains local forest honey, dandelion & lime-tree honey from Gästrikland

Official Tasting Notes:
Color: Dark Amber 
Aroma: Honey, demerara sugars, oak, vanilla, butterscotch, citrus, orange, red berries, ginger cookies and bakery spices, almonds, ice tea and coffee. 
Mouth: Honey, vanilla, lightly roasted oak, coffee, oranges and citrus. A buttery and light texture. 
Aftertaste: Butterscotch, vanilla, honey, citrus and bakery spice.

Some of my favourite tweets for Bee Liqueur:
@ulvmane: Brings a scent of tea, lemon ice tea, With honey and ginger, Oh now I know ;) Its ... Horrible ;) Reminds me of Red Stag....
@sjoerd972: Has a lot of sugary, syrupy sweetness on the palate. fruity, berries, the sweetness of wood, but not the woodiness. weird.
@sjoerd972: Thanks for the ice tea note. You're spot on with that. Lots of honey too.
@angels_share: (not whisky!) Nose: jenevrier genepi fresh. Sugar. Maple syrup
@WhiskyBrother: What a nose! Such a sweet spiciness. Reminds me of a sweet and sour Asian dish. Hickory? Slight medicinal note too
@TheScotsdreamer: Nose: Thick and sweet, lots of honeys (Pine Honey, Heather Honey) slightly spicy almost breatha

So what did We think?
Kat: The nose unsurprisingly is strongly of honey, for me heather honey. There is a medicinal herb quality to it; all I can make out was aniseed and fennel. 

Also unsurprisingly the taste is of honey, the liquid is like very runny honey which coats the tongue with silken dark caramel notes, again like crème caramel with a hint of bitterness towards the end. It also reminds me of my Grandad’s brown sugar Seville orange marmalade as it does leave the same bitter sweet aftertaste. There is a smidgen of allspice berries that peeps through the sweetness every now and then but is hard to make out.

Dave: I never managed to keep my original sample of this one during the tweet tasting  I was fairly certain my wife would enjoy this one and took it to her to try it, she loved it and commandeered my glass.

I'm not normally one for sweet liqueurs but I was pretty impressed with this one, the wild honey notes are fabulous, and there is a light citrus note to it that reminded me of the honey and lemon 'Lockets', although on reflection think that that was a bit of a wild descriptor as it is so much more enjoyable than that. 

The evenings tweet tasters came from all across the globe and were: @Whiskylassie from Canada @angels_share  from Italy @PresleyKa from the UK @StevenLin1969 from Taiwan @galg from Israel @sjoerd972  from The Nederlands and @ulvmane from Sweden. I think there were a couple of others who couldn't make this re-arranged date too.

Many thanks to Colin Campbell @TheScotsdreamer Angela D'Orazio @AngelasShare for hosting this event and for Mackmyra for the samples.

For more information check out the Mackmyra website.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks! A lovely summary of a very nice twittertasting. Nice to meet you in cyberspace!