Mackmyra Happy Hunting Review

“Too Young To Be Married”

Country: Sweden
Brand: Mackmyra Special # 5 "Happy Hunting"
Type: Single Malt Whisky 
Age: NAS 
ABV: 47.2 %

Colour: Golden Straw

Nose: The Fresh Oak, Resin, Vanilla and light Varnish immediately remind me of German and Dutch whiskies I have tasted recently. The Aroma is really quite different from your average Scotch Single Malt or Blend. It's young Whisky for sure and the Wine Finish must have been rather short. I find notes of slightly Sour Cranberry Juice, Grass and Straw, German Butterkekse (Butter Biscuits), Toffee, Lemon Pie, Aniseed and Dried Herbs. The Alcohol is quite present. I do not believe a young whisky like this benefits from such a relatively high ABV. The Nose is certainly not unpleasant but there's an unfinished feel to it. 

Palate: Young and Edgy. The Alcohol is a bit too strong in my opinion. I find Red Fruit, Sweet Barley, Creamy Vanilla, Oak, Toffee, Straw, Ginger, Pepper, light Menthol and Dried Herbs.  

Finish: Short, Spicy and Dry towards the end. The Alcohol stings a bit. I find Banana flavoured Candies, Toffee, Creamy Vanilla, Ginger, Pepper and Lemon Grass.

Lingonberries (Picture: Wikipedia)

I added a bit of Water and you get a bit more Red Fruit on the Palate. The Alcohol is of course subdued but the added Water leaves the Spirit without its identity. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 81

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: The first Mackmyra distillery was constructed in 1999. Today it's being used for special expressions and marketing events only. The reason for this is that in 2012 a brand new distillery was built close to the old one.
The new distillery is quite high as it operates via the gravity principle. Water and and Malted Barley start the process on the highest floor and the product winds its way to the bottom floor where the stills are installed. The Happy Hunting is Expression # 5 of a Special series, launched between 2009 and 2013. It really is different from your usual Scotch in the sense that it matured in small casks made of Swedish Oak before being finished in Casks saturated with Lingonberry Wine. These berries are related to Cranberries and Blueberries. The Happy Hunting was inspired by an Autumn walk in the forest and is not artificially coloured It has now been discontinued but was sold at an average 80 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good  

Conclusion: I have tasted quite a few West European mainland whiskies in the meantime and I have acquainted myself to their specific Aromas and Flavours that are quite different from their Scottish brothers. The mainland Whiskies are almost always very young when they are bottled and mostly mature in new oak casks. No wonder they often remind me of Fruity Liqueurs or New Make Spirit with lots of Creamy Vanilla and Resin from the new Wood. But unfortunately they are not allowed to have more wood contact to extract additional Aromas and Flavours from the Casks. And, as is the case with the Mackmyra Happy Hunting, the Finishing in a different kind of cask is not long enough to add sufficient additional Flavour components. Like so many starting distilleries, Mackmyra needs to find a balance between the necessity to make cash to start paying back the high investment costs and the need of building up stocks of fully matured whiskies that would certainly please consumers. As a result of the above, most of the European mainland whiskies I have tasted so far, while certainly not bad, give an unfinished impression. Let's hope these promising new distilleries will be allowed to launch fully matured whiskies in the future, allowing them to show the consumer their real skills. I, for one, am looking forward to that moment!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    March 23, 2015

The First " Old" Mackmyra Distillery

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