This review has been completed with a sampled provided by Mackmyra, this is no way altered the review or opinion of the whisky.
Christmas time, that time of year when the days are spent intercepting parcels before the partner and the family can discover what you’ve got them for Christmas. Books, jewellery, movies, all things for someone else but wait, what’s this? A certain miniature bottle from one of my favourite distilleries? Amazing.
For this World Whisky Wednesday I’m looking at the Mackmyra Moment Körsbärsrök.
As some know I’m quite the Mackmyra fan. Some distilleries are content to do what they’ve done for years, some decades. When the most progressive some get is using a red wine cask that is near exhausted and labelling it a special release it’s no wonder its forgotten about a few days later in the churning vortex of whisky releases.
Mackmyra have somewhat of the opposite problem, they are themselves a vortex. Not that they’ll ever be forgotten, but getting excited for a new release Mackmyra means I’m excited week in week with the amount of whisky they release. If their product was overpriced, over hyped, or even average then we could safely say that they’re doing it to remain relevant, but their products are so infuriatingly good that I have no choice but to put the blinders on sometime and ignore everything else while I get up to date with the latest and greatest from our favourite Swedish Distillery.
See that is half the problem, you can count on one hand the mainstream distilleries that when they innovate, they innovate well. The competition has to put up with remarks such as ‘Mackmyra did it’ or ‘Mackmyra did it better’. The challenge of creating a whisky that is not greeted with either a sneer for copying or a grimace as the drinker turns their thoughts to a more well-rounded release that Mackmyra did must drive some people up the wall.
But that is what Mackmyra is known for, innovating and being damn good at it. It’s what they’ve built their brand on, the ability to challenge whisky perceptions both in and out of the industry, and with each release they gradually change the game.
So what is this new release then?
The Mackmyra Moment Körsbärsrök (Cherry Smoke) keeps us on theme as a Christmas release, a smoky whisky with spice and cherry. It makes sense when you think about it, Christmas has sugar, cherries, spice, fire and smoke, so putting it all together into a bottle is a sound idea. Getting from A to B however takes a bit longer.
The Körsbärsrök is a combination of various spirit makes, flavours and smoky and unsmoky newmake, both of which were distilled at the original Mackmyra distillery through 2010 and 2011, marking this one of the last Mackmyra whiskies distilled at the ‘original’ distillery before the move to the Lab Gravity distillery nearby.
The non-smoky element was aged for 10 years in 2nd fill ex-bourbon, one 200L and another 100L barrel. The smoky element, Mackmyra’s unique smoke tail whisky which is a non-peated batch run through the stills after a peated run, was aged in ex-bourbon barrels first for four year before being reracked for six years in 128L and 100L barrels which were seasoned with the German Cherry Wine Amorella Kirsch.
All together the peated casks, smoke tail whisky, ex-bourbon and cherry wine casks come together in the recipe for a full Christmas flavour, something Master Blender Angela D’Orazio has been keen to point out,
“In my opinion, a mature and smoky whisky such as this, with final maturing in cherry wine casks, is a real ‘end-of-the-year’ whisky. It is the perfect accompaniment to a Roquefort cheese or a soft, mature Brie at the end of a nice dinner with family and friends in the autumn darkness. It has a nicely distinct smoky character that doesn’t dominate the other finely-tuned flavours in the whisky too much,”
After all that the Körsbärsrök was bottle as a limited edition of 1,500 bottles at 43%, shipped out and available to purchase for £99 now from Mackmyras online store, sure to be a Christmas hit.
But not even Mackmyra is exempt from being tasted first, so lets pour out our little sample and get to tasting.
The nose sets itself ablaze like a Christmas cake should, cherry, almonds, slices of green apple, ginger lumps, aniseed and star anise all wafting through a veil of brown sugar and becoming more intense while caramelising. Confectionary starts to come as all that fruit and sugar melts together, with charred marshmallows, pineapples lumps, toffee apple chews, candy canes and meringue all jumping out. The cherry miraculously ferments and suddenly we’re nosing cherry brandy and lemonade with some banoffee pie and honey roasted carrots. It all wafts away as some mint, salt and turmeric chase everything else off, until there’s one fat, sticking cherry poptart begging to be eaten.
As soon as we have the first sip the smoke tail is noticeable with lovely ashy notes, wonderful soda bread slathered with butter, honey, strawberry and cherry jam before being toasted over an open wood flame, then dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg, a prickly mouthfeel coming through before the smoke and cherry get chewy and a touch cloying but wonderfully complimenting everything. A small metallic hint, a tang that is not misplaced but feels it could have been either more or less emphasised, enjoyable though. Then it’s on to some desert wine, apricots and peaches drizzled with a little touch of Vanilla Coke.
Last but not least the finish holds mulled wine to sip as we feel the embers of the whisky slowly die out, mint, ginger and thick caramel returning and keeping us warm in a comfort chair. That’s Christmas right there.
Straight off the bat I think this is a fantastic dram. The flavours all come together for a wonderful ride through the mouth, and it is perfectly suited as a Christmas release, well done to all the folk at Mackmyra for this one. I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite whisky of their range and it’s certainly not the most innovative (the Intelligens takes that crown), but it is damn good and uses all the elements extremely well.
Would I buy a botte of this? Oh yes, I think it’s far superior to most other Christmas releases and holds a slew of flavours to entice and excite everyone. It’s mixture of thick Christmas flavours, the roast of the fire in the whisky and then with that metal tang leads me to suggest drinking it to one song only.
Actually you could do the whole Christmas album. Rock on, and Merry Christmas.
This review is not sponsored or endorsed by any distillery, Mackmyra or otherwise, and is entirely the words of the author Somewhiskybloke.