The story of Mackmyra, Sweden’s first whisky distillery, famously began with a ski trip in 1998, when eight friends from Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology went on holiday together and all brought bottles of whisky to share.
In conversation during the evening, the friends’ national pride was somewhat piqued by the fact that all of them had brought Scotch and discussion turned to how a Swedish distillery could be set up. In the aftermath of the trip, the group hatched a plan to start their own distillery and a few months later in March 1999 the Mackmyra company was founded. Before the end of the year a pilot distillery had been constructed at Mackmyra Bruk near Valbo and was producing spirit on a small 100 litres still, yielding about 30 litres of spirit per batch.
But although the founding group took their inspiration from Scotch, from the outset Mackmyra were making whisky their own way. The test runs were each technically tweaked to vary the recipe and process; the resulting spirits were mainly filled into smaller casks, typically between 30 and 100 litres in size. From the beginning, these small casks were marketed and sold to ordinary whisky fans, creating a wave of enthusiastic local ambassadors for the brand.
As word spread and demand grew, Mackmyra’s founders decided on two distillation recipes to specialise in and in 2002 scaled up their operation, building a new distillery with a much larger production capacity. Full-size stills were commissioned from Forsyth’s in Rothes, with Swedish stainless steel washbacks and a German mashtun also on site.
Nowadays, Mackmyra is more than famous amongst whisky enthusiasts all over the world and has become one of the leaders of the “world whisky” movement. Let’s have a closer at one of their latest releases, a whisky in collaboration with rum producer Plantation Rum and finished in casks that previously stored Barbados and Jamaican Rum (bottled at 46.1% abv). a Carribbean love affair called Vinterdröm.
Nose: Sweet, Fruity & Slightly oaky with custard cream, coconut flan, candied lime, marzipan, pineapple jam, ginger, tobacco & dried fruits. When toffee apple and molasses hints start showing up, it feels a bit like stepping into an exotic candy shop, or even entering a Jamaican grown-up version of Disneyland. There’s something summery in this dram too, and I’m glad I tasted it on a cold winter day, while it’s way below zero outside and I’m here thinking about perfecting my non-existent tan on a faraway beach.
Palate: Elegant & warm with caramel-vanilla cream, chocolate, kumquats, gooseberry jam, raw coconut and some more earthy/spicier (star anise?) notes towards the end. The cask influence really shows (I must confess I’ve never been a heavy rum drinker, not that I don’t like it, just that I never took the time to really get into it, too busy geeking on whisky 😉 ), much more than in other rum-finished expressions I had the occasion to sample (nope, sorry there won’t be any name dropping here!), making it a really interesting dram to taste and the best way to tackle those freezing winter months!
Finish: heartwarming and spicy
Pssst! Find the recipe here!