Wearing The Swedish Tartan - Mackmyra Distillery

The thought of wearing a kilt in cold Sweden is enough to make all but the hardiest Scot cross his legs in dread but the Mackmyra distillery have managed to take Scottish traditions and do them the Swedish way with great success. OK, so they are not all running around in kilts (as far as I know!) but they are producing some very fine single malt whisky. The distillery is named after the village in which production started way back when in 1998 and means 'small mosquito' when translated to English. They started with an excellent pool of talent to draw from initially; among the four couples that founded the distillery was an economist, marketer and a chemist, all very handy people to have around when creating a whisky and launching a new company! In 2004 Angela D'Orazio left The Scotch Malt Whisky Company to become Mackmyra's Master Blender and the distillery was propelled onto the international stage when they launched their Reserve Programme. The Reserve Program lets you have your very own personal 30 litre cask of whisky that is stored at one of five warehouses across Sweden and Germany. You can select the type of barrel and recipe used so the whisky is exactly to your specification. You can be present when they fill the cask and taste it once a year until you decide the time is right for it to be bottled. Currently Mackmyra have around 10,000 peoples casks' maturing, an absolutely astounding figure! See the video below to learn a little more about the process. Mackmyra like to push the boundaries and do things differently to distinguish their whisky from the thousands of others available. The only water used in the distillation process is drawn from the Valbo Ridge and the peated expressions use peat from the Karinmossen peat bog; it came as a surprise to me to learn that apparently there is peat underneath 25% of Sweden! When peating occurs, twigs of Juniper are added to the kiln to obtain sweeter  notes than their Scottish counterparts. The innovation doesn't end there either as Mackmyra have utilised the Swedish Oak to their advantage. They offer whisky matured in Swedish Oak casks which have a distinctive flavour caused by the trees slow growth in the cold Swedish climate (caramalised toffee and herbaceous tones).

My favourite thing they have done is to create the Gravity cask which has the body of a freshly drained bourbon cask and ends of Swedish oak. This has become their signature cask and the name was taken from their new cutting edge Gravitation Distillery which used natural forces in the production process. Actually, that's my second favourite thing, the first being the fact that their main warehouse is actually housed underground in an old abandoned mine! This really screams James Bond villain's lair to me and I can picture the head distiller sitting in a recliner stroking a fluffy white cat! The temperature in the mine is maintained at a steady 7 degrees centigrade so the maturation process is slow despite the small 30 litre cask size. All of this culminates in an extraordinary distillery that has carved out its own niche in a market that's a tad over saturated with choice. In recognition of this, Mackmyra were awarded the title of Best European Spirit Producer by the International Wine And Spirits Competition (IWSC) in 2012. Another odity (although this is one I'm sure they'd rather not have!) is that they can't actually sell bottles of whisky at the distillery. This is due to Swedish laws forcing all spirit sales to be through a government owned retailer. Mackmyra even had to add a restaurant to the distillery to allow whisky sampling on site. True to their usual flair they have thrown everything they have at what others may have found an annoyance and employed a chef that previously worked at the three Michelin starred Fat Duck restaurant here in the UK. Here is a brief time line taken from Mackmyra's website highlighting some noteworthy events in their history;

  • 1998 - The idea of ​​a Swedish malt whisky is born.
  • 1999 - The first drops are distilled.
  • 2000 - The first 30-liter barrel is created.
  • 2001 - The Mackmyra recipes, Elegant and Smoke, are stated.
  • 2002 - Mackmyra Reserve is launched – it becomes possible to buy a custom barrel.
  • 2003 - A new warehouse on Fjäderholmarna in the Stockholm archipelago opens.
  • 2004 - Bodås Mine becomes Mackmyras main warehouse.
  • 2006 - A new warehouse at Häckeberga Castle in Skåne opens.
  • 2007 - A new warehouse on the west coast of Smögen opens.
  • 2008 - The first regular whisky “The First Edition” is launched
  • 2009 - The construction of Mackmyra Whisky Village in Gävle starts.
  • 2010 - Opening of the Mackmyra Whisky Village.
  • 2011 - Gravity distillery opens in Mackmyra Whisky Village.
  • 2012 - We were appointed the European Spirits Producer of the Year by the IWSC.
  • 2013 - We launched our first smoky whisky, Svensk Rök (Swedish Smoke).

Mackmyra Brukswhisky


The entry level Mackmyra Brukswhisky has a balanced character with fruits and butterscotch. The nose is clean and young, with light, spicy, notes of Swedish peat and juniper. Clear fruitiness with butterscotch, citrus and pear. Prominent notes are liquorice and mint. The palate is fruity and slightly smoky while the aftertaste is fruity and slightly spicy. Enjoy Brukswhisky as it is, with or without ice, on any occasion. Gold Medal Best In Class IWSC 2010

Mackmyra Hope Special 07


Mackmyra Special:07 is a complex whisky with salty notes of both autumn and sea; a berry, smoky and spicy character. A blend of recipes named Smoke and Elegant, this has been matured in several different cask types from 30 to 200 litres. It has finished on casks that have been saturated with cloudberry wine. The nose is prominently spicy and smoky with a complex palette of fruity and berry scents. A delicious berry note with fresh acidity, prominent saltiness, and cloudberries with spicy Swedish oak, peat and juniper smoke, fudge and honey. The palate is smoky, spicy and fruity with juniper, peat, butterscotch and dried fruit. The aftertaste is spicy, slightly smoky, salty and fruity. Silver Medal Outstanding Qulaity Award 2012

Mackmyra Special 08 Sauternes Handpicked


Mackmyra Special:08 is a delicious, spicy, Swedish malt whisky with a floral and fruity character. This whisky is made from the Elegant Recipe that has been matured on a mix of bourbon casks, sherry casks and casks made of new Swedish and American oak and finished on French Sauternes cask. The nose is slightly spicy and herbal, fruity and floral with notes of honey, ripe pears and raisin together with a soft roasted cask character, notes of butterscotch and nuts with a delicious spicy oakiness. The palate is fruity, spicy and soft. The aftertaste is long, fruity and spicy with light notes of soft oak and butterscotch. Gold Medal Outstanding Qulaity Award 2012

Mackmyra Moment Mareld


Mareld is a smoky Swedish malt whisky characterized by Mackmyra’s whisky from the elegant, smoky and extra smoky recipe, finished on former sherry casks. Mareld means 'fire of the sea' in Swedish. The nose is fruity, smoky and spicy with hints of juniper, peat, butterscotch, toast, almonds, raisins, pear, citrus and oak as well as light herbal notes of anise and grass. The smokiness is well integrated with the sweetness of the casks. The palate is fruity, smoky and spicy with butterscotch, citrus, dried fruits and vanilla. The aftertaste is softly oaky and slightly peaty with a light fruitiness. Moment Mareld is a smoky, spicy and fruity Swedish malt whisky, to be enjoyed at any occasion, for instance after a nice dinner or to celebrate a special occassion. Silver Medal Outstanding Qulaity Award 2013

Mackmyra Moment Barnsten

Barnsten is a slightly smoky Swedish malt whisky and is a very limited edition. It’s character comes from Mackmyra’s Elegant Recipe made right after a smoky batch, a so called smoky tail. The whisky has been finished on French Bordeaux cask and Swedish oak casks which previously stored cloudberry wine. Barnsten means 'amber' in Swedish. The nose is rich and fruity, slightly smoky and spicy with elements of dried fruit, peat and juniper, leather and tobacco. The palate is fruity, smoky and spicy with aromas of dried fruit, tobacco leaves, oak, citrus and vanilla. The texture is oily and medium rich. The aftertaste consists of dried fruit, spicy herbs and tobacco leaves, a slight saltiness with a light smoke. Barnsten has been matured in the Bodås mine and was put in casks from 2004 to 2007. Enjoy the summer memories in this comforting whisky with hints of sun ripe berries and a light smokiness. Silver Medal Outstanding Qulaity Award 2014

Mackmyra Moment Morgondagg

Morgondagg is an elegant Swedish malt whisky with delicious cask notes. Its character comes mainly from Mackmyra’s single malt whisky matured in American 1st fill barrels and ex-sherry casks. Morgondagg means 'morning dew' in Swedish After years of rest in the tranquillity of the Bodås Mine, new whisky notes are rising from the depth. The nose is fruity, herbal and spicy with aromas such as vanilla, butterscotch, citrus, pear and raisin as well as fine cask notes like toasted bread, tobacco and anise. The palate is fruity, herbal and spicy with butterscotch, green fruits and a soft, spicy oakiness. The aftertaste is soft and spicy with a light note of butterscotch.