Tag Archives: Sweden

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

Old Pepper 1780 Straight Whiskey, 43%, in Bourbon St, Gothenburg.

It’s February in Gothenburg.

I’ve had a few – more is promised – a feed is in order.

Don’t all the bars do food?

Bourbon St – maybe a burger will suffice?

Yes – burgers indeed – and what to drink?

Well I’ll stick with the American theme & order that distinctive black & gold labelled square bottle I don’t recognise.

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Old Pepper c/othewhiskeynut

Old Pepper 1780 Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey made my glass.

Mmmmmm!

The usual candy floss sweetness on the nose – but with an attractive spiciness to boot

A decent wholesome mouthfeel.

That spice coming through stronger.  Suggests a high rye content – although the virgin oak tannins could be working their magic too.

A very easy & engaging bourbon with a touch of drying spice on the finish to add character.

Who’s behind this one?

A spot of googling reveals a firm by the name of Venturi Brands.

Old Pepper 1
Trademark dispute c/otrademarkandcopyrightlawblog

Despite the trademark dispute Old Pepper was certainly a tasty little number – along with the enjoyable burger & chips!

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, Svensk Rök, Single Malt, 46.1%

Swedish Whisky.

Well worth visiting.

I haven’t had a duff one yet.

This subtly smoky Svensk Rök is no exception.

Smoky Swede c/othewhiskeynut

Wholly made with Swedish ingredients, non chill filtered & presented at natural colour – this is a gorgeous whisky.

Pale straw in appearance – the nose is invitingly softly smoky, clean & fresh.

Delightfully smooth on the palate initially, a slowly building warm woody campfire heats up into a spicy dry embracing smokiness.

I didn’t want the flickering embers & warm glow of the long finish to expire.

A highly enjoyable smoky Swede from the Mackmyra stable.

Slàinte

Sample bottle courtesy Irish Drams

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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Hvenus Rye, 45.6%

It would be remiss of me not to visit a Systembolaget shop whilst in Sweden.

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All booze is bought here. c/othewhiskeynut

Systembolaget are the chain of state owned off licences set up in 1955 to control the sale & consumption of alcohol.

Alcohol is strictly governed in Sweden.

There is no advertising.

There is no sponsorship.

There is no ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free!’.

What there is are high taxes and I must say – a very pleasing & clean shopping experience.

The stores are bright & airy.

There is a cheerful atmosphere.

All brands get equal exposure. There are no promotional ads from the big brands dominating the aisles.

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See what you’re looking for? c/othewhiskeynut

 

Each category is clearly labelled – equally – so it’s not difficult to find what you’re looking for.

I already knew what I was after.

Systembolaget do an online guide here detailing all that is available – by how many bottles – in each shop. So I already knew before entering the store my choice was on the shelves.

Very impressive.

Well what did I go for?

Hven had already impressed me on first encountering their distinctively shaped & super tasty whiskies at the Whisky Birmingham show a few years ago.

Learning they had produced a rye – my other love – there was no contest.

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Spirit of Hven Rye c/othewhiskeynut

Now Hven don’t do chill filtering nor added caramel.

They give extensive detail regarding the grains, process & method of the products they release – and this rye is no exception.

But open information doesn’t gaurantee great taste – so how was it?

A gorgeously wholesome white peppery signature rye spiciness greeted me with a spirity kick.

The delivery was smooth on the palate. The spices gently grew along with some herbaceous floral notes giving a savoury balance to the sweet.

The drying spices rolled around on the finish leaving a warm cosiness to counter the snow outside.

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Even the river was frozen! c/othewhiskeynut

A lovely well balanced rye from the Spirit Of Hven Distillery.

A gorgeously warm whisky to welcome me to Göteborg.

Tack tack

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