Category Archives: Whisky Reviews

Mackmyra Special:10 Kaffegök at Whiskymessen 2013

Back on our feet after Whiskymessen 2013, which took place last weekend and is Denmark’s largest whisky event. Lots of good people, old drunks randomly falling asleep, revisiting dear old whiskies, and exploring new quality bottles constantly spewing from both the Scandinavian and Scottish distilleries these years.

A highlight was the world premiere of Mackmyra’s Special:10 Kaffegök.

Mackmyra special 10 kaffegök whiskymessen.dk 2013

Mackmyra is one of a dozen active distilleries in Sweden, and by far the most prolific. In fact, if popularity is measured by the amount of Facebook fans a distillery has, Mackmyra is with +150.000 fans among one of the most popular distilleries in the world.

However, Mackmyra is not really a predominant brand internationally and most of these Facebook fans are Swedes. A nation with a dubious reputation for settling with either moonshine or the thinnest beer and priciest spirits in the EU.

One of the things that could improve this bleached Swedish reputation in Denmark is Mackmyra. Not only have they recently switched to a better Danish distributor, which means their whisky is not only available in airports and select stores, but they also seem to make consistently decent and interesting whisky.

Because of the poor Danish distribution, we have never actually had a proper chance to taste Mackmyra before Whiskymessen 2013. But when they showed up with 7 of their bottlings, a world premiere and official brand representatives, we not only decided to taste Mackmyra, but to raid them.

Whiskymessen.dk 2013, Martin Skou Danny Kreutzfeldt whisser mackmyra special 10 kaffegök

A whisky festival raid means high-jacking a brand representative and make him select a line-up of 5-7 of their whiskies, which is then tasted in quick succession. (You can read more about raids and other whisky festival survival techniques here)

Under the guidance of Karl from Mackmyra, we went through a line-up of increasing ferocity.

  • Mackmyra Brukswhisky
  • Mackmyra First Edition
  • Mackmyra Vit Hund (More of that Swedish moonshining, not bad though.)
  • Mackmyra Special:08 Handplockat
  • Mackmyra Special:10 Kaffegök
  • Mackmyra Moment Skog

The most important thing we learned about Mackmyra is that they are not afraid to try out new things. While it was hard to pin down a distinct Mackmyra taste, they still often manage to stand out because of the unusual tastes they seem very insisting on. Something that is mainly achieved by filling their casks with all kinds of natural ingredients before maturing the mostly unpeated spirit in the casks.

Nowhere in the line-up was this more prevalent in Mackmyra Special:10 Kaffegök, which premiered at Whiskymessen prior to the official release on the 2nd of May. The ironic subtitle “Kaffegök” means coffee punch (as in boozed-up coffee), and thus Special:10 is (sort of) made the other way around as it has been finished on casks that have previously stored whisky spiced with freshly roasted coffee beans. This spiced whisky is then poured out and replaced by regular Mackmyra spirit, which is then given a coffee-finish in the casks.

The result was a unique single malt whisky with strong coffee taste that still felt potent and complex despite the straining done to the taste buds during a whisky festival. It could easily match a conventional lightly peated whisky, and worked wonderfully as a break.

The coffee taste felt like a natural part of the liquid, and was present throughout the 10-20 seconds it took to develop in the mouth. On top of this, the taste of coffee had a surprisingly refreshing effect, which was probably caused by the placebo effect, as both of us are coffee junkies in our daily lives. At least so our theory goes.

The tasting of Mackmyra Special:10 Kaffegök at Whiskymessen 2013 can be summed up like this: Whisky and coffee together, but in a good way.

Mackmyra special 10 whiskymessen.dk 2013

The Special:10 Kaffegök was a great experience for a number of reasons: It improved our perception of Swedish whisky. It tasted like nothing we had quite tasted before. It was a refreshing peak on an otherwise busy day of heavy tasting. And lastly it was a prime example of whisky innovation.

Not since German Cadenhead’s various Stupid Cask projects have we encountered such well-executed artificial cask finishing. An approach we not only find interesting, but also vital in keeping whisky alive as the most fascinating, wonderful or exuberant liquid on Earth.

Other highlights from our day at Whiskymessen 2013:

Stauning whisky mogens vesterby whiskymessen 2013
Stauning 2nd Edition Peated. Served by master distiller Mogens Vesterby.
Read about our tasting of the Peated 1st Edition at the distillery here.
smws Scotch Malt whisky society at Whiskymessen.dk 2013
SMWS had brought the entire range along, as well as furniture, chicks with tits and a photographer.
Read about our visit to Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Vejle here.
Glenfiddich Cask Of Dreams Whiskymessen 2013
Glenfiddich Cask Of Dreams. Another brand new whisky and one of the best at Whiskymessen 2013.
Also, the first Glenfiddich in modern history where the quality of the whisky matches the price.
Lars Lundehave Hansen whiskymessen whisky tasting taste the doom 2013
Hanging out with Lars Lundehave Hansen of Taste The Doom.
Read our feature about his doom metal whisky tastings here.

Stauning Peated 1st Edition at the Distillery

Upon entering the new year, we deemed it fitting to write something about one of last years best whisky tasting experiences. The tasting of the Stauning Peated 1st Edition at the Stauning Whisky Distillery way out west on the Danish peninsula of Jutland.

We maintain that describing the tasting of a whisky cannot be summed up by explaining what is in the bottle. Lots of other factors play a part, with the most important ones usually being: The place and company around you. Your physical condition and receptibility of your senses. Your mood and your expectations.

Stauning Peated 1st Edition Danish single malt whisky

After a wearisome road trip, we arrived eager and curious at the small distillery. Stauning Whisky Distillery is found near the rural hell hole of Skjern. It is a desolate regressed part of Denmark, which does seem like it has been forgotten by God – despite the comparatively high religious activity of the locals. The Stauning village is however a small idyllic place located on the banks of Ringkøbing Fjord. Just outside this village, the small distillery has been opened on a former pig farm.

stauning whisky distillery destilleri skjern
Stauning Whisky Distillery

We were greeted by master distiller Mogens Vesterby and co-owner Hans Martin Berg Hansgaard who took us on an informal tour around the farm. Throughout the tour they emphasized how luck and pragmatism was the key to their success. Stauning Whisky has been developed from a basement experiment to an upcoming brand in just 7 years despite none of them really knew anything about making or selling whisky.

Mogens Vesterby Stauning whisky
Mogens Vesterby demonstrating the Stauning bottling plant and labeling device

However, the huge amounts of Jutlandian modesty couldn’t hide the pride they feel for the their work. Not only by the attention from Danish mass media, the exclusivity deal with the famous NOMA restaurant and the praise from whisky opinionaters like Jim Murray, who rated the Stauning Peated 1st a rare 94/100 in the 2013 Whisky Bible. But also by making everything out of local ingredients, which as far as we know makes Stauning the only completely Danish single malt whisky in production at the moment.

Stauning Peat from Klosterlund Museum archeological dig
PEAT! Currently delivered to Stauning from a nearby archeological dig.

We were presented with the Peated 1st after the laid back walk around the distillery in a short line-up preceded by the Stauning Young Rye and the Stauning Traditional Single Malt. We both agreed it tasted and behaved exactly as a young smooth peated 62.8 % whisky should: Like a blast beat in a classical symphony. Like a temporary shutdown of all senses but taste and smell or – like finding a warm welcoming place in a cold barren landscape.

Stauning whisky casks
Casks are stored in the old farm garage.

In this sense our high expectations about tasting the Peated 1st were not only met, but also greatly succeeded. All the elements came together on the journey this day, hence; The great whisky we were offered went perfectly in tune with the down-to-earth, unpretentious yet positive atmosphere of the Stauning Whisky Distillery. Something which is often gravely missed when being subjected to a tacky overeager tour guide on a well-established Scottish distillery.

So if you want proof that something is definitely NOT rotten in the state of Denmark, visit an old pig farm in a desolate part of Jutland and taste some peaty Danish single malt whisky.

Whisser Mortlach road trip
Have a safe trip.

d & m (Thanks to Thomas N. Jensen for the extra photos)