Since they started making their own whisky in 2002, Mackmyra have continued to push the envelope on what Swedish whisky can be. Almost every release over their 20 years has been housed in the (fittingly Swedish named) Stockholm bottles and has looked to focus on using Swedish ingredients and then experimenting on where different influences can take their spirit. One regular release which bucks these trends however (including being housed in a different bottle to the Stockholm shape) is their single malt whisky simply called: MACK.
The Mack release is thematically aimed at the casual whisky drinker and cocktail crowd. In their own words: “MACK by Mackmyra is an artisanal single malt whisky made from only Swedish ingredients. MACK is great in cocktails but also on its own, straight or on the rocks.”
The spirit is said to draw on a strong vanilla flavour whilst retaining the distillery’s signature orchard fruit flavours.
Targeted therefore as the more approachable malt, the MACK release is the cheapest bottle in their core range, housed in a (relatively) tall bottle, with simple, stylish, bold branding. It is the only Mackmyra whisky release to be bottled at 40% ABV, with colouring, and chill-filtered.
It is soft and sweet upfront. Sweet vanilla and gentle oak smells lift out of the glass first. They’re followed by a raft of sweet berries (strawberries in particular) and cherries. A light floral sort of grassy / hay smell in there too with Mackmyra’s signature apples and pears underpinning the whole thing.
The apples and pears now take centre stage as the string of flavours from the nose seem to have been reversed. The cherry flavour then appears and it’s a sweet one too, that reminds me of those cherry lip-shaped jelly sweets. There’s a new and gentle milk chocolate flavour with the soft vanilla. Maybe even white chocolate. After a little while the flavours all meld and really bring to mind the tastes of barley sugar boiled sweets. Very little spice at all.
Swift and silky – all about that sweet balance but with a tiny little touch of oak spice by way of cinnamon and nutmeg.
A super little sipper. It is very easy going. To a regular whisky drinker, it is almost like a ready-made cocktail without the need to think about a mixer. It is so soft and sweet without much burn at all. It seems like a clever balance of primary bourbon-led maturation on their apple-pear rich malt spirit.
I can imagine that the whisky elite would turn their nose up at this release, particularly with the unholy trinity of being released with an 40% ABV, colouring, and chill-filtration. Fact of the matter is that this is not for them, and like it or not, there is a definite market for these kinds of releases.
Knowing Mackmyra helps, as does knowing their brief for this release, and it hits that brief, big time.
Other positives about this whisky come from its origin and production. This made at Mackmyra’s second site at the Gravity distillery with a focus on making whisky in a climate friendly and sustainable way.
As a Mackmyra fan, this is an easy sipper and might become my new gateway malt for the uninitiated – all the key characteristics are there without it being overpowering or too weak/tasteless like some 40%ers can be. At my local off -licence, the owner mentioned to me about a husband and wife that drop by once a month to pick up a fresh bottle and I can imagine why!
Sample disclosure: my notes are taken from a bottle I bought as a gift for someone, who was kind enough to share it with me (that’s always at the back of our minds when gifting right?). The gift was well received, and a good choice was made. All notes are intended to be an honest, fair, and independent review of the whisky. Please drink responsibly. Please drink wisely.