Tag Archives: Mackmyra

A Blind Tasting Experience

In a departure from the usual – today’s blog is courtesy of the Irish Whiskey Stone Company who received one of my blind tasting packs.

This is the experience they enjoyed!

“About a week ago I saw a post on Twitter by a whiskey reviewer, @2DramsofWhiskey of Westmeath Whiskey World, in which he showed a picture of some vials of whiskey and informing us that he was going to be doing a blind whiskey tasting. I replied to his tweet asking what was a blind whiskey tasting and how does one go about doing it. Not really expecting an answer, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I got a reply telling me that it could easily be arranged!

This was followed with some private messages in which I then had to admit that I know next to nothing about whiskey (which may surprise some of you, considering I sell whiskey stones but how and ever…)

That didn’t put the reviewer off and before I knew it, here I was with 3 samples of whiskey to try out.

I have to admit, it took me a few days to get around to doing it and a certain amount of mental preparation (don’t know why but I was quite daunted by this task!).

Anyway, today was the day. I got out the samples, I found three glasses, got a spittoon glass at the ready and a bottle of water to clean my palate between tasting.  

I got a pen and paper out ready to make some notes and cracked open Sample D. I poured some into a glass and first took note of the aroma, which struck me as quite sweet. I sipped and let it rest in my mouth, closed my eyes and thought for a moment about the flavours. The two flavours that struck me the most was citrus and wood. I then added a wee drop of water to see what flavours this would release and the sweetness became more intense. I found this sweetness too much for my liking to be honest.

Sample D West Cork Peat Charred Cask

I washed my mouth out with some water and proceeded to try out Sample E. Again, the first thing I noted was the aroma. This time I could almost detect the freshness of the sea. (probably not remotely a technical whiskey tasting term but it fits for me). This whiskey had a very pure taste and I found it very pleasant indeed.

Sample E Kilbeggan Rye

On to Sample F I went. As soon as I opened the bottle, I could catch a hint of peatiness. I like peat but not too much of it so I was wary. However, this was not overbearing at all. I tasted. Wow, what an explosion of flavour in my mouth. There was an almost orange tang of it but it was a little sharp for me. Having said that, I think this would be an amazing after-dinner tipple.

Sample F Mackmyra Reserve Cask

I gathered my notes and what you have just read is my semi-coherent interpretation of them. 

So, there you go. My first whiskey tasting. I actually really enjoyed it and it was a good challenge to write about it too!”

Many thanks to Irish Whiskey Stone Company for sharing their thoughts.

Have you tried blind tasting yet?

Sláinte

Summerton Virtual Whisky Festival, 2020.

COVID has cancelled a whole host of Whiskey Festivals this year.

I did manage to get in the excellent Fife Whisky Festival just before the lockdown – but it may prove to be the only physical show I’ll get to.

So when Summerton Whisky Club announced their online virtual festival – I had to give it a go!

Initially I was worried the festival pack wouldn’t get through the rather clogged postal situation – but it arrived in plenty of time.

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Virtual Whisky Festival! c/othewhiskeynut

My next problem was technology!

Turns out my old laptop is not up to speed – thank goodness for a loan of the wife’s modern machinery!

Bimber were up first.

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Ex-bourbon Bimber c/othewhiskeynut

This new London distillery offered an exbourbon cask at a stonking 51.8% to get things rolling!

A gorgeously rich vanilla laden single malt!

I must profess to having a soft spot for Bimber. A sample of their 1st Release came my way & impressed me very much.

After trying a London Single Malt – Dublin’s Single Pot Still was in order!

Under my table was Dublin’s 1st whiskey release in many years – Teeling Single Pot Still Batch 1.

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London & Dublin’s finest! c/othewhiskeynut

Very fresh & fruity in comparison to Bimber. Less wood influence too. Afraid to say Bimber wins out in this comparison!

Scalasaig’s Blended Malt Island Hopper sailed in next.

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Scalasaig Island Hopper c/othewhiskeynut

Soft peat & caramel with a warming smokey fire.

A back to back with The Dark Silkie blend was in order.

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Swimming with the Silkie! c/othewhiskeynut

Silkie came over cleaner, fresher & ultimately more enjoyable!

A Limited Edition 14 year old Tawny Port Finished Glen Scotia proved to be a stunner!

Ruby coloured, rich, nutty & warming with a hit of peat from the 52.8% strength. Fabulous!

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Campbeltown cracker! c/othewhiskeynut

Campletown Whisky obviously suits my palate after it came out tops in a blind tasting I did recently.

The Lakes Distillery The One Signature Blend suffered a little from the previous offering.

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Now this One! c/othewhiskeynut

The bottle appears to be redesigned & re-recipied from my 1st encounter at a Whisky Birmingham Show a few years ago. The main difference being Lakes own malt is used in the whisky.

One came across as a soft easy peater. Perhaps a sherry influence had detracted from the peat hit for me?

Hinch is the first Irish contribution to the show.

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Hinch Double Wood c/othewhiskeynut

The 5 Year Old Double Wood brings out the warm vanilla & spice of the cask maturation – although I still prefer the Peated Single Malt sampled previously.

Lambay provided the 2nd Irish selection with a cute duo of miniatures featuring their cognac finished blend & single malts.

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A Lambay duo c/othewhiskeynut

It’s fortunate I enjoyed larger samples at a tasting hosted in Sean’s Bar, Athlone. I’m still enjoying the fresher Small Batch blend over the smoother Single Malt though.

I didn’t have a cognac handy to try out the source cask – so made do with a brandy – and found those dark fruity & nutty notes along with a slight spice from the wood that enhanced the Lambay.

I do love Mackmyra’s Limited Editions. They are creative, experimental & feature part of Sweden in every bottle. My last time in Gotherburg introduced me to the range.

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Smashing Swedes c/othewhiskeynut

Efva & Fjällmark were the 2 samples. Both impressed me with their richness, depth & complexity – but Fjällmark just pipped the post for me.

I couldn’t pass up the chance to compare these 2 with a Single Cask Reserve Rök, 1st fill bourbon Mackmyra.

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Smokey Swede c/othewhiskeynut

Class smokiness!

At this stage of the evening I’d usually be on the train home – or tucking into a big feed to sober up – but Wolfburn were the finale with a duo of single malts – Morven & Northland.

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A pack of Wolves! c/othewhiskeynut

I was pleased to be reacquainted with these softly peated malts. The Morven won out in this contest.

Congratulations to all the team at Summerton Whisky Club for hosting this virtual show.

It’s been fun – but I must admit to missing the real thing.

My dram of the day?

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Campbeltown cracker! c/othewhiskeynut

Glen Scotia from the actual show

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Smokey Swede c/othewhiskeynut

& Mackmyra Reserve Cask from under my table!

Sláinte

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Mackmyra tasting at Olrepubliken, Gothenburg.

Pubs are currently closed in Ireland for the COVID pandemic – yet they remained open in Sweden.

On a previous visit to Gothenburg I had the pleasure of enjoying one of them.

There’s a different feel to the bars in Sweden. Licencing laws require food to be served & consequently tables & chairs are common place – rather than nooks & crannies.

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Whisky central! c/othewhiskeynut

At Ölrepubliken I sat myself down by the bar counter to admire the whisky selection & chat with the friendly staff.

Ardbeg was in abundance – Ölrepukliken are ambassadors for the brand – but it was Swedish Whisky that interested me.

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Swedish & Scotch in Gothenburg c/othewhiskeynut

By way of a starter – a glass from the small cask in the corner was offered.

Mackmyra staff regularly top up this barrel with cask strength products in a solera style system.

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Mackmyra Reserve Cask c/othewhiskeynut

How cool is that!

A unique taste experience every time you visit!

Luckily for me the current contents consisted of a smoky – or rök in Swedish – element augmented by bourbon & sherry casks too.

It certainly warmed me up!

Rich notes of vanilla & dark fruits. No chill filtering or added caramel here. A dry savouriness – almost chewy.

Gorgeous!

A whisky menu was proffered &  a private bottling for the bar featuring more rök malt finished in oloroso was next.

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Mackmyra Reserve c/othewhiskeynut

The contrast between the dry smokiness & the sweet luxurious fruits really worked well.

Wonderful!

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Which one? c/othewhiskeynut

To finish off a clutch of silver labelled, black banded Mackmyras caught my eye.

Part of the Moment Range I’d never encountered before.

I chose Jakt – named after the Swedish wine casks it’s finished in.

Who knew Sweden even did wine?

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Jakt Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

At 48.1% Jakt didn’t quite have the punch of the cask strength beauties I’d just engaged with.

Nonetheless rich fruity notes blossomed in a softly complex display of sumptuousness.

Picking a favourite? – it would have to be the Ölrepubliken Cask.

The full strength rök offering in a unique combination of finishes just blew me away.

If your looking for a taste of Swedish Whiskey – Ölrepubliken is the place to go!

Skål!

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Mackmyra Vinterglod, 46.1%, v Bergslagens Peat Ferie, 46%, Single Malts

I had an unexpected package arrive just in time for International Whisky Day on 27th March – a pair of fabulous Swedish Single Malts for me to enjoy courtesy of the Irish Drams blog here.

They came as part of an informal whisky sample exchange I have going with a number of fellow whisky fans – always happy to have more.

The pair were poured into my favourite drinking receptacle  – the Túath Irish Whiskey Glass – and the fun began.

Wow!

The flavours in both of these malts just explode on the palate giving a tantalisingly complex taste experience.

This matches my encounters of other Swedish malts sampled on a recent trip to Göteborg which benefit from being non chill filtered & presented at natural colour.

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Vinterglod c/oMackmyra

Mackmyra Vinterglöd is full of spicy cinnamon & orange on the nose which follows through on the taste.

There’s a bed of warm vanilla underneath which slowly dries out leaving a gorgeously spicy tingling.

A wonderful spicy winter warmer!

Very novel.

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Peat Ferie c/oBergslagens

Bergslagens is very dark.

Gentle sweet peat on the nose, perhaps muted by the rich sherry notes.

The taste starts off smooth & silky, before a dry ashy peat wafts in leaving a wonderfully drying sensation tinged with stone fruitiness.

Loving the contrast between the deceptively smooth entry morphing into a stunningly dry ashy hit.

Both are slightly unusual malts, both are very appealing & both push the boundaries of what a great tasting whisky should be.

If anything Vinterglöd reminds me of the Scottish Liqueur Drambuie – without the cloying honey sweetness.

Bergslagens just wins it for me. The powerfully dry ash suits my palate perfectly.

For further information on these fabulous malts press here for Vinterglöd,

And here for Peat Ferie.

Happy International Whisky Day!

Sláinte

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808 Whisky 808 Film 808 Music

Ever since the invention of the electric guitar in the 1930’s there has been a close relationship between the world of music – as originally played by black bluesmen like John Lee Hooker – and the world of whiskey

Right through to the Jack Daniel’s fueled tales of the recently  deceased Lemmy – though I would prefer the Mackmyra produced whisky bearing the Motorhead name,

motorhead whisky
Motorhead Whisky c/oMackmyra

And the alcoholic excesses of Irish band The Pogues who have also entered the Whiskey Hall Of Fame by having a tasty Irish blend named after them from West Cork Distillers,

Pogues whiskey
The Pogues Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Whiskey is associated with rock ‘n’ roll.

Meanwhile back in the 80’s a new musical phenomenon exploded on the scene inspired by a plastic box of electronic wizardry and a different type of drug.

The Roland 808 became a central plank in the development of dance music. So much so it has become an iconic instrument almost as revered as Lemmy’s Rickenbacker bass.

There is even a new film released featuring many of the famous artists who used the 808 in making their music.

The ever changing styles of music and drugs means there is an opening for the more traditional forms of intoxication – as the lyrics of The Far East Movement’s hit ‘Like A G6’ show.

A drinking culture obviously exists in the electronically inspired music scene too. A culture that needs to forge a new identity with new brands for it’s own fulfilment.

One company that’s trying to fill that need is 808drinks.

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808 Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

Now to many people – electronic music is soulless and lacks character.

Grain whisky – when it first appeared in the late 1800’s after the invention of the Coffey Still by  Irishman Aeneas Coffey – was also similarly derided as ‘The Silent Spirit’ by the dominant distilleries of the time.

Oh how history is cruel on those who don’t adapt.

Grain whisky is the main ingredient in blended whisky which make sales of up to 90% of the market.

The overarching genre of dance music hasn’t reached that dominance over rock – but is did cross over into mainstream as shown by the 1986 Run DMC / Aerosmith hit collaboration.

808 Whisky is also a collaboration between established icons of Scottish Whisky like Jonathan Driver – formerly of Diageo but now at Whyte & Mackay – the massive North British Distillery in Edinburgh and long standing DJ Tommy D who helped create the sounds for many a famous artist.

Being made for a different audience 808 Whisky bucks the trend.

It’s a blended grain whisky.

It’s 40%.

It has ‘Chill Filtered For Purity’ emblazoned on it’s trendy designer label.

So can it live up to the ‘808 BOOM’ much loved by musicians?

Depends.

To start with it’s a light straw colour. This is good in my book as there’s no obvious signs of added caramel.

For me – there wasn’t much going on in the nose however – apart from a subtle sweetness and that grainy smell. Again – no real surprise there.

The taste was rather soft – mellow – and surprisingly smooth. I’ve had many a cheap blend that burns your palate on the first mouthful. Not so with 808 Whisky. A delicate well balanced grain taste.

I actually enjoyed the warm feeling as it slid down.

This grain whisky is an easy to drink – inoffensive – light dram.

Many a distilleries standard blend would also fit this description – and they sell in their thousands – so it’s in good company here.

Personally I’d like something a bit more – well – ‘In Yer Face’ to allow me to showcase yet another 808 inspired tune.

But then I’m not part of the core customer profile this whisky is aiming at – which is possibly younger and more experimental than me.

808 Whisky would make an excellent mixer drink due to it’s soft mellow profile.

It would also make an excellent easy to drink shot to fuel your funkiest moves on the dance floor.

808 Whisky may not yet have the iconic status of it’s namesake synthesiser Roland 808 -but it does combine my passion for music and my passion for whiskey in a wonderful way.

I wish 808 Whisky all the best for it’s bold combination and unusual style resulting in an easy to drink smooth and satisfying blended grain whisky.

Now that’s ‘Something Good’ as Utah Saints used to say.

Sláinte

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PS I’d just like to thank The Whisky Lady for bringing my attention to 808 Whisky and allowing me to indulge in my musical mayhem whilst enjoying a whisky or two.

Update: Since writing this blog 808 Whisky has morphed into a Single Grain Whisky. I’ve not yet had the opportunity to sample the new expression. Whiskey Nut 8/08/18

German Whisky – Das Ist Gut

Germany is not a country usually associated with whisky manufacture. They do love their whiskies however – and it is one of the top export countries for both Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky companies.

Germany also has a long tradition of distilling – mainly schnapps – but is increasingly turning to whisky.

Germany – shockingly – according to my research – has more whisky distilleries at 250 than Scotland with 115!

So when a friend invited us over to Berlin last weekend – I made it my goal to sample some of the expressions emanating from these German distilleries – I must say – I was very impressed!

Wein und Spirituosen Center Tegel c/o Whiskey Nut Wein und Spirituosen Center Tegel c/o Whiskey Nut

My first port of call was to the very extensively stocked Wein Und Spirituosen Center at Tegel – a handy 5 minute walk from the marvelous public transport network Alt-Tegel U-bahn station.

Very friendly staff guided me through their German Whisky range which included tasting a few samples from bottles the shop already had opened for customers to try.

Glen Els Sherry Cask c/o The Whisky Exchange Glen Els Sherry Cask c/o The Whisky Exchange

A glass of Glen Els Sherry Cask was tried. Now normally a sherry finish floats my boat – but I found this somewhat lacking – maybe not enough sherry for me?

Slyrs Single Malt c/o Slyrs Slyrs Single Malt c/o Slyrs

Slyrs Single Malt provided a much more enjoyable experience. Aged in new American White Oak casks this 3 year old gave a lovely woody aroma with a pleasingly smooth taste for it’s youthfulness. No wonder it has gained awards!

Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de

An interesting bottle caught my eye so I requested another sample. The intriguingly named Sloupisti from Spreewalder proved to be an equally fine dram.

Mackmyra First Edition c/o Mackmyra Mackmyra First Edition c/o Mackmyra

Taking advantage of the european whiskies on offer I also sampled a Swedish Whisky – Mackmyra First Edition – another great find.

Loaded down with my booty I ambled down to Greenwich Parade where The Fisherman’s Restaurant have an outdoor picnic area. I indulged in Fish ‘n’ Chips delightfully overlooking the Tegeler See in the bright sunshine!

Art work and Alexanderplatz from Foreign Office Berlin c/0 Whiskey Nut Art work and Alexanderplatz from Foreign Office Berlin c/0 Whiskey Nut

After meeting up with friends and been shown round the German Foreign Office enjoying fabulous views of Alexander Platz from the balcony – it was off to Berlins only whisky distillery.

Eschenbrau beer garden and pizza hut c/o Whiskey Nut Eschenbrau beer garden and pizza hut c/o Whiskey Nut

Eshenbrau in Wedding was a fantastic place where many beer and whisky enthusiasts congregate in the outdoor beer garden set in the middle of a housing scheme to enjoy the beverages made only a stone’s throw away. They also served lovely flammkuchen to soak up the alcohol!

A fine range of beers are available all year round with seasonal brews regularly alternating on the menu. They have also started whisky production which I was eager to sample.

Eschenbrenner Whisky c/o Whiskey Nut Eschenbrenner Whisky c/o Whiskey Nut

The three styles on offer were all a youthful 3 years old;

Pete – aged in American oak,

Charlie – aged in chardonnay casks and

Amber – aged in Spessart German oak for a truly home grown product.

Eschenbrenner Amber Whisky and glass c/o Whiskey Nut Eschenbrenner Amber Whisky and glass c/o Whiskey Nut

All of them were pleasantly quaffable with a hint of youthfulness but the Amber finally came out tops with rich woody notes and a slightly smoother finish. As the only venue to buy this whisky is at the distillery I duly bought a bottle – as well as the lovely tasting glass.

Bulleit Rye c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop Bulleit Rye c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop

The rest of my time in Berlin was taken up by the more normal tourist spots – but I was impressed by the range of Irish, Scottish and American whiskeys available in nearly all the restaurants and bars we entered. I took the opportunity to try out a Bulleit Rye  whilst dining outside in the trendy Prenzlaur Berg area which despite being a little sweet in comparison to the German expressions – I enjoyed very much.

For whiskey fans Germany has much to offer. The sheer number of whiskey distilleries produce a vast array of styles, finishes and malts that match that of Scotland in terms of taste and quality – although volumes are small by comparison. Independently family owned or craft distilleries are the order of the day supplying local markets so expressions can be hard to track down – but from my experience well worth the effort.

Go on – try a German Whisky – 3 outta of 4 ain’t bad – to mangle a Meatloaf lyric!

Auf wiedersehen

Sláinte

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