We’ve sampled several single malt whiskies from the Season Range by Mackmyra on WhiskyUnplugged and sure enough, as the seasons continue, so does the Mackmyra output and their intrepid exploration of cask maturations on their Swedish spirit. The Äppelblom release is no exception to the format and this time features a collaboration with the Christian Drouin family producers of Calvados apple brandy from the Normandy region of France. The Swedish distillers have utilised the ex-Calvados casks from Christian Drouin to finish their spirit which has been previously aged in virgin American oak casks and ex-bourbon casks, to produce this seasonal “Apple Blossom” release, which has been bottled at the house favourite 46.1% ABV. The distillery offer up even more transparency on their site of the final spirit’s make-up here.
No surprise that it’s all apple upfront from that calvados maturation. It’s pretty light and fresh smelling and particularly floral at first. It kinda has the same pungency as roses, but without smelling of roses, if that makes any sense? (And that’s before drinking it). It’s sweet too – there’s a good sponge cake smell to it and the apples are joined by sweet pears. There’s a final, lovely fresh oak accompaniment to the fruity foray.
With the punch from the 46.1% that apple flavour really fires on up and we’re talking stewed apple with cinnamon spice coming in. Second time around and there’s a nice sweet scent of home baking to it, like cakes, pastry and vanilla. Third sip and I found there was a juicy raisin style sensation under all of that too. These all seem to add up to the flavours of an apple strudel rather than a whisky! The whole thing is rounded off with a crisp oak taste and spice.
Quite an intoxicating rasp of alcohol on the finish just to remind you that this is a whisky after all, and it leaves a solid oaky spice behind as all the sweetness and light charm fizzle away.
Well, it’s no secret that I’ve developed a thing for Mackmyra whiskies. I’ve put up a review of a different expression almost monthly in 2020! Through the various expressions that I’ve tried to date, I really have come to appreciate that base malt’s apple-led fruity profile and have seen how the different casks and finishes have played with it and nurtured it. With that in mind, the maturation in ex-Calvados casks has taken that core flavour and amplified it up to 11. Having recently reached a dangerously low level on my Vintersol bottle, I was all too happy to try some samples of the Appelblöm in my local off licence (Chester Beer and Wine). Just as lockdown was about to take hold in the UK, I jumped at the chance to get another bottle of Mackmyra into the house ready for some self-isolation, and particularly this expression. The final product does not disappoint. I find that it kind of gets straight to the point without getting bogged down in having lots of complexity. It’s modus operandi is there on the bottle: Äppels – and boy does it hit the brief. As such, this is a very good summer whisky as it is light, fresh and refreshing, the latter of which is not something that you usually get from a whisky. As the sun shines here in May, this dram does also give a nod to the upcoming autumn months too, not just with the apple harvest but also with those delicate and warmer dessert flavours courtesy of the spices that arrive around the finish. Highly recommended for the summer season – best enjoyed with some First Aid Kit playing in the background to round out the easy going Swedish experience.