When I set out to record the details for this cask, which Mackmyra brought a sample of to Östersund Maltfestival, I got confused. What do they actually mean by “förlagrad” (“pre-matured”)? When the label says that the cask was filled (“fatfyllning”) 30 June 2010 I’m assuming they mean filling of the 30 litre bourboncask which the whisky is then bottled from, but what, exactly, is being filled into this cask in 2010? How old is the spirit and what had it been stored in previously?
A quick search, and I found that Mackmyra provide the answer on their cask offer pages. If you buy a cask from them, one of the spirit varieties you can choose is “förlagrad elegant”, which means that the spirit will first have been matured in a 200 litre ex-bourbon cask (i.e. a bourbon barrel) for three years before it is filled into your 30 litre cask of choice. In other words, it is already whisky by the time it’s filled into the tiny cask, and you would be justified in calling the extra maturation a sort of “finishing”.
In any case, here are my notes for this specimen of Macmyra’s “elegant” (that is: not peated) spirit, matured for three years in a bourbon barrel and then for almost three years more in a 30 litre ex-bourbon cask.
Nose: Vanilla, fresh herbs, gooseberries and tropical fruit. More oaky with water, and some sweetish spices; cinnamon?
Palate: Vanilla, wood and oaky bitterness. Tropical fruit and a hint of coconut (pina colada!). Water tempers the bitterness somewhat and I’m left with vanilla, fruit and coconut.
Comments: A very pleasant dram. A little too bitter on the palate, but nice even so.
In honour of St. David’s Day, which falls on March 1st every year, I’ve opened a bottle of whisky from Penderyn. It’s from the very first batch that was commercially available, and is no age statement, finished in Madeira casks.
Nose: Tinned peaches, honey, vanilla and spices. The spices turn towards cumin with water, and I find some yellow apples, otherwise the honey is emphasised.
Palate: Heather honey, fruit chutney, vanilla and cinnamon. A little bitterness with water, but otherwise not much difference.
Comments: I’ve sort of lost sight of Penderyn lately, it’s not available in the Nordics, so we don’t hear much about it. But this is a very drinkable “baby” (it’s NAS, but I seem to remember it being not much more than three when it was bottled around ten years ago), a pleasant sipping whisky. I am denitely taking note to try some of the more recent, older bottlings from Penderyn if a chance offers.
Nectar d’Or has been finished in Sauterne casks. Blind tasting.
Nose: Acetone and oak, lightly perfumed and quite bourbon-y. But then, after some time in the glass: Raspberry jam and pancakes. With water it developes a trace of wax or Play-Doh and burnt matches.
Palate: Oaky perfume, faint bitterness, burnt sugar. Malt and orange marmelade. The marmelade turns to berry jam once water is added.
Comments: On first sip I was hesitant, but after some time in the glass it’s quite nice, really. Not something I’d buy a whole bottle of, perhaps, but I’d not say no to another dram.
This bottling is exclusive for Travel Retail (for the time being). The whisky has been finished in new American oak casks (quercus alba). According to Laphroaig this finish achieves ” a blend of peat smoke balanced with warm, spicy vanilla notes.”
Nose: Smoke, a hint of liquorice, cold smoke. Water brings out vanilla and an intense apricot chocolate filling (the Norwegian Twist Aprikos, just the filling), as well as something a bit flowery and yeasty baked goods.
Palate: Smoked, cold rock. With water vanilla and yeasty baked goods.
Comment: Neither the nose nor the palate provides the classic Laphroaig medicinal character. It should also have been bottled at a higher strength (40%? Why, oh why?), but otherwise it is quite nice.