Tasting Notes: Mackmyra – Destination

So much marketing on whiskies these days is about the ‘journey’. Whether that be the one that a distillery has experienced, or one that you, as the drinker, will be taken on. It is therefore pretty refreshing that Mackmyra’s newest release is simply called “Destination“.

Here’s what the marketing team are saying about this new expression:

Where will you go next?

Mackmyra Destination is a non-peated whisky that to a large extent has been aged in casks that previously held port wine. These casks give the whisky deep notes of red grapes, raisins and a beautiful chestnut colour. Together with American oak casks that contribute with notes of vanilla fudge. The finished result is balanced, yet complex and round.

Make sure to let the whisky breathe for a while before enjoying it. This will open up the palette to sparkle with beautiful notes. This whisky is an invitation to whisky lovers all around the world to come and visit us at one of our many destinations.

Mackmyra

Not only is this a statement of intent, but it is also an open-armed call to come visit the distillery and the “Whisky Village” that they created – taking in the ‘gravity distillery, ‘ magical forest warehouse’, and their award-winning restaurant.

The release follows Mackmyra’s tradition of avoiding age statements, but is the first new limited edition release to sit outside of the now-closed Seasonal and Moment collections. (See notes on the final Autumn/Winter Seasonal release: Stjärnrök here). The final product features Mackmyra’s signature spirit which has been stored in a combination of ex-Port wine casks, American oak casks, and ex-Bourbon casks. As per the statement above however, the main portion and aromatic profile is focused on the port wine seasoned casks. The final whisky bottle is now available at an RRP of £69 per 70cl bottle, and has been captured at 48.7% ABV.

Mackmyra

Nose

Big orange flavours present themselves at first. Then, after time to breathe (as instructed) the orange flavours are joined by sweet red fruits, fresh cut apples, and a vinous blend of red grapes and white grapes. The fruit medley is joined by a little warming spice and nuttiness with almonds, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Taste

There is an apple and strawberry set of flavours and sweetness that sit front and centre once this hits the lips. Those sweet fruits are then joined by a raisin juiciness, before the oak and alcohol heat start to ramp up. The spice is tempered though and the whisky manages to stay fresh. Accompanying the heat there are baking spices abound making for some big apple Danish pastry notes.

Finish

The cinnamon heat fizzles for a medium finish with a final flourish of orange and nectarine juiciness and sweetness.

Verdict

First thoughts: I could polish off a bottle of this whisky very easily.

Lovely texture. Lovely flavours. Lovely depth, whilst remaining fresh and fruity.

As a Mackmyra fanboy this feels like a grown up Mackmyra when compared to other recent releases. (Click here for tasting note on many of their releases from recent years.) Their apple-centric spirit is still there but there is a definite weight and texture to the body that suggests that this has a little something more about it. That may however just be the port wine bringing some body and rich fruit flavours, but it does feel different.

Destination

Destination also seems to be a marked move from the variety of the Seasonal series. Whilst the packaging and stylings are familiar, this expression is no longer exploring the depths of Scandinavian ingredients and influences, but has instead been matured via a series of more traditional casks. As a result, their standard apple influence feels more like it has been stewed and the overall feel has quite a bit more depth. The lighter or unusual flavours of the Seasonal Collection or Moment Collection have been replaced or enriched with a little more body and oak spice.

Speaking of heat, 48.7% ABV seems a funny figure to bottle at too. I would hope that the figure was arrived at as the new team’s sweet spot to deliver what they wanted to. It certainly keeps some heat on the centre of tongue but never gets too much and always has the oak spice and sweetness temper it. On the other hand, it seems like maybe just another move away from the recent years’ output whose preference was to stick to 46.1% ABV.

On that note, the times they are a-changing at Mackmyra. We have seen the recent departure of master blender and ‘Chief Nosing Officer’ Angela D’Orazio [ed: man, I hope that someone else picks up that job title] and the closure of their two regular limited edition series Seasonal and Moments. I guess that all good things must come to an end, but what has kept me intrigued over recent years has been that element of exploration. The team have regularly made bold moves to playfully and successfully explore where single malt whisky flavours and profiles could be pushed to. That has been a factor which I think has set Mackmyra apart from others – apart from being Swedish, of course, but even that doesn’t make them unique these days. With that context in mind, the fact that this new whisky is called [their] “Destination” makes an even bigger statement that at first may appear.

Internal politics aside, revamp or not, this has still proven to be a very tasty whisky. It hasn’t hindered my desire to closely follow Mackmyra’s progress and I hope that their quality is as unerring as ever. I am also minded that with each release, time is also moving on, and there are some stocks gaining a good old age in them there hills… or mines.

M

Postcard – Destination: Unknown.

Sample disclosure: This sample was sent to me by Mackmyra as part of their marketing for the new release. The sample bottle was sent with no obligation to post anything. All notes are intended as an honest, fair, and independent review of the whisky itself, and not as a promotion. Please drink responsibly. Please drink wisely.

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