We’ve written about Mackmyra several times on this site and, for us, it is the spiritual home (as it were) of Swedish whisky. The distillery sells a steadily increasing number of core range whiskies, which are all excellent (see here). However, it is the distillery’s nature of innovation and experimentation that leads to their more interesting and evocative releases, namely the Seasonal offerings (twice per year) and the even more rare Moment releases. The Vintersol expression is from the 2019 winter/vinter release and offers a taste of Swedish winter with Portugal’s sun (vinter-sol). For this expression, the Swedes have paired up with Port wine producer Quinta Do Vallado – one of the oldest and most famous Quintas in the Douro Valley. As with most releases from Mackmyra, there is no age statement for the Vintersol, with their focus being on taste and their usual ca. 46% ABV alcohol content.
This is so fresh and so vibrant. It’s got sharp and sweet fragrances that just hit you straight away. There are freshly cut/sawn oak smells that clearly come from the barrels’ influence along with a distinctive oak-vanilla flavour. This is all then complemented by the big, sweet, sugary, juicy, zest and zing of strawberries and raspberries. It has a decent dose of malt to the nose too and a little gingery spice for good measure.
Before you even get chance to taste this properly, a really silky smooth coating of the tongue begins and then starts to spread that vanilla flavour throughout the mouth. Then comes the red fruit and berry flavours, which really start to jump out, but maybe a deeper and fruitier flavour than the nose let on – think more like red grapes and raisins than raspberries and strawberries. There is then a final flurry of ginger and cinnamon spices which stand out, much more than the initial nose let on too, but without being overpowering in any way.
Despite the gentle spices on the finish, the freshness of the malt and oak really play out as the final notes of this whisky’s tune. There’s even a lingering freshness of cut apples on the tongue afterwards.
We don’t usually mention the colour of the whisky on this site but the pinky hue to this delicious drop is really eye catching. We don’t usually mention the texture either but it has a gorgeous ice cream-like silky and vanilla-flavoured coating of the tongue. I’ll tag a third caveat on this too, and say that we don’t normally comment on the packaging either, but the simple, bold branding and truly reflective colouring really complements the name, the season, and the influences behind this whisky.
For me, this whisky sort of mirrors the craft beer world right now where the flavours available are becoming more and more adventurous. Fruit flavoured milkshake IPAs anyone? Those flavours are probably more divisive though than this port finish will be. Port casks certainly seem to be en trend and I can see this being enjoyed by any whisky drinker, to be perfectly honest. It has a freshness and true single malt quality that whisky drinkers would look for, balanced with experimental features that excite the tastebuds and complement the base liquid. As Mackmyra reach 20 years, they continue to experiment and innovate and this whisky is testament to that.
Genuinely one of the best whiskies I’ve tried this year and it is going on my Christmas list – but I’d better act quickly, given that it is a limited and seasonal release. In summary, it has a superb balance of age and influence whilst remaining bright, fresh and interesting.
Sample disclosure: This sample was (thankfully) sent to me by Mackmyra as part of a promotion for the new seasonal release. The notes are intended as an honest, independent and fair review of the whisky. It just happens to be excellent – I would say if otherwise! [ed: Here’s the proof too.. though I can’t open it until Christmas apparently…]