Mackmyra is the first Swedish whisky distillery. Located 170km north of Stockholm, it opened on a small scale in 1999 and was upgraded in 2002 and full production started. Their first official release is released in Sweden today and will arrive in the UK later this year. Before this they have released a series of limited edition preludes, starting with the Preludium 01 in 2006. Within this series, they have experimented by using different casks and methods in order to produce highly innovative and interesting whiskies using local ingredients. The distillery's reputation is growing fast and each Preludium has sold more and more. This Preludium 06 was released as the last in the series late last year and sold out in less than a day in Sweden.
It is still very young for a whisky at four years old and the colour is very light (quite grassy, like hay). The nose is fruity (fresh apples and pears) and quite zingy and citrusy (lemon and lime zest). There is some sweetness (reminiscent of honey and caramel) and an interesting smokiness. It is more like burnt, fragrant wood smoke rather than the peaty smoke of Scottish whiskies. This is due to Mackmyra using a mixture of peat and juniper twigs to dry their malted barley, with the smoke from the juniper twigs infusing into the malt. On the palate, this is fairly sweet and smoky but still quite fresh. The fruity citrus notes from the nose are present, as are the vanilla and caramel. There is also a hint of saltiness which adds a interesting twist. However, it is that fragrant smokiness from the juniper twigs that leaves the lasting impression as it is so different from smoky whiskies that I have tasted before. The finish is pretty long and smooth (generally young whiskies can be a bit rough with the alcohol and flavours softening over more time) with vanilla, sweet smoke and again a touch of saltiness. The Preludium 06 is only available in a couple of retailers in the UK, of which Royal Mile Whiskies is one. It retails for around £45 and is really good. It would be a good whisky to give someone if they are not sure about smoky flavours as this is a different type of smokiness, with the juniper giving a herbal flavour reminiscent of gin. I cannot wait for the first official release later this year as this and the other Preludiums I have tasted show incredible promise.