These samples were kindly sent to me by the brilliant @mckwhisky, brand ambassador for Mackmyra UK.
Is it about time that I dig into the Mackmyra core range? I'd say yes!!
Being Swedish and a whisky fan, of course I've tasted these before, well at least the Brukswhisky. But it was a long time ago and my palate has evolved a lot regarding what it will appreciate. When I followed the Mackmyra tasting on Twitter hosted by The Whiskey Chaps some time ago, I really wished I had some of these whiskies to sip because reading their tasting notes, I became so curious about what my experience of Mackmyra core would be these days. Since maybe 2017, most of my Mackmyra experience has been the Mackmyra Reserve and private cask samples, strong and bold drams compared to the core range. But that doesn't mean the core can't be good!
I'm now going to start sipping the core range and scribble down some notes about it, starting with Mack and Brukswhisky.
The Mack is probably the lowest priced of all Mackmyra whiskies, it sells for £33.25 at The Whisky Exchange. I've seen it described as "aimed at younger whisky drinkers" - whatever that means. I'm not a fan of generalisations with whisky, assuming that a certain category of people only enjoys a certain type of whisky. I'm not sure if this idea comes from Mackmyra though - I've only seen the description at Master of Malt and some other retail sites.
Other descriptors of the Mack are much nicer; flavourful, bright and fresh - a whisky that will suit a wide audience.
It's non age statement, matured in bourbon casks, bottled at 40% ABV and contains artificial colouring. I had never tasted this whisky before I received this sample.
There's an overwhelming smell of banana. Then some toffee, which brings me back to the good old pre-coeliac days when I could eat banoffee pie at Gearoidin's coffee shop. There's also overripe orange and mild spice.
Light mouthfeel. I get foam banana with dark chocolate, toffee again and sweet fruits.
My first impression of this whisky is that it was a bit all over the place and that the flavours aren't in harmony with each other. It has a quite pleasant flavour profile though, but I'd probably use it in cocktails rather than drinking it neat.
When I hear the word brukswhisky, I associate it with a simple but nice whisky that you can sip at any occasion, you don't need to engage much with it, it doesn't really make you think but it's good enough when you just want to relax with a dram.
Bruk in Swedish means use (as the noun), but it can also mean a sort of factory or industry where raw materials of whatever type is processed in order to build tools or other products. The word bruk in this context is quite outdated though and is now used mainly about industries in the past. Bruk were industries built primarily in the 1600-1700s, also including mines, and around them villages/towns were built and these areas became known as brukssamhällen (samhälle=society). There are many of these in Sweden, especially in the central and northern parts. Many of the Swedish bruk are still going but are now run in modern manners - the old buildings are mostly museums, but they also sell products. (If you are Swedish, know more about this and disagree, please let me know! I'm happy to edit this info if needed.)
The reason I talk about this is that on the Mackmyra Brukswhisky product sheet, there is a picture of a bruk (with bottles of whisky floating in the water - brilliant artist work - see it here), and there's a similar illustration on the Brukswhisky bottle. This makes me wonder if Mackmyra actually refers to a bruk/factory in this name. However, to me Brukswhisky will always be associated with an easy sipper/simple but nice whisky.
This single malt whisky has quite a few different components.
Light. Hay, foam banana with chocolate, apricot, tropical fruit.
Light watery mouthfeel. Dried, almost sour orange, oak spice, vanilla sponge cake and some mint.
The finish is simple and short with orange, spice and mint. The orange is on the sour side, which is quite unpleasant to me so I guess this wouldn't be the brukswhisky of my choice. However, for less flavour-picky people I'd say this is a good one.
These are two basic entry level whiskies, interesting to taste when you want to start exploring the Mackmyra collection. I'd probably rather use them in cocktails than sipping them as they are - and I basically only drink cocktails in a nice bar with renowned cocktail masters.
These whiskies were not among my favourite, as you've understood by now. But you probably also know that I'm a big fan of Mackmyra generally. They are a super cool brand with some good people working for them, and although Mack and Brukswhisky didn't tickle my fancy very much, I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to go back to the core range now that I have some more whisky experience.
So what music do we want to pair with these two? I'd say something easy going, a bit too easily digestible but that still has something of interest in it.
I usually listen to country, folk, trad, bluegrass and related - but it happens that I find something more mainstream that I actually like. This song is one of those, it's in the indie pop genre and circulated on the radio in the mid 90's. The melody and arrangement have some twists that makes it more interesting than most other pop songs of that time, but it lacks depth and doesn't make me experience anything in particular.
It's still nice on the ears and gets stuck in the head - is there an English word for the Italian orecchiabile?
Enjoy! I'll be back soon with more Mackmyra - Svensk Ek and Svensk Rök are on the list.