April 2019's Selection – Mackmyra Svensk Ek Whisky
To celebrate the newly light-filled evenings, for April we selected a beverage from somewhere renowned for beautiful summers and beastly winters: Sweden.
The founding saga of Mackmyra (pronounced “"Mack-MEER-uh") dates back to 1998, when eight friends went on a skiing trip. They knew the host loved whisky, so every guest had brought along a bottle – which got them pondering why there wasn't any Swedish whisky. When no one could come up with a good reason, they resolved to found Sweden's first whisky distillery. They moved fast and began small-scale production in October 1999.
This embrace of Sweden feeds through to the ingredients Mackmyra selects for its whiskies: they're all sourced locally. In fact, everything except the yeast (made in a suburb of Stockholm) comes from within 75 miles of the distillery. Mackmyra's use of Swedish barley brings the sweetness that is characteristic of all their whiskies.
We selected Mackmyra’s Svensk Ek expression because it's the oldest and most representative expression of the distillery's output. This whisky has only been sold under the Svensk Ek label for a few years – before that it was known as The First Edition and was Mackmyra's signature single malt.
Literally translating as "Swedish oak," 10 percent of the whisky in Svensk Ek is aged in Swedish oak casks – with the remaining 90 percent matured in ex-bourbon barrels (shipped over from the US after they've served their purpose there).
Oak is not common at all in Sweden. Mackmyra take theirs from a forest planted on the island of Visingsö centuries ago to supply the Swedish navy with ships. Oak grows slowly in the harsh Swedish climate, resulting in a dense wood that imparts harsher, more fiery flavours than American oak.