All four entries from the distillery achieved gold medals and finished in the top seven malt whiskies tasted blind by a panel of 12 judges. Mackmyra Midnattssol also won the title of Wizards World’s Best Malt 2015. Mackmyra is one of the longest established ‘New World’ distillers but this is the first time the distillery has entered the Wizards Awards. Judges were particularly impressed with the diversity of malts, which included peaty, savoury, sweet and fruity malt selections.
Mackmyra moved in to a new and larger distillery three years ago and matures its casks at a number of different sites , including a former armoury on an island off Stockholm, and an underground mine. It also uses a range of cask types, including quarter casks. It has a range of whiskies made up if core brands and special releases. The four submitted this year include two new releases: Reserve and Vintage. As organiser and non-participating chairman of the judging panel, I am delighted for master whisky blender Angela D’Orazio and her team, but not surprised. I have been writing about the distillery since its earliest days and have seen it progress from early Privus and Preludium bottlings to the excellent bootlegs entered this year. Mackmyra’s whiskies are more ‘regionalised’ than any other New World Whisky, their taste influenced by local ingredients including a salty peat which is very distinctive to that used in Scotland, and from the juniper twigs occasionally used to dry the barley. Mackmyra also won European Distiller of the Year, where Swedish distiller Spirit of Hven also secured a gold. In all Sweden provided five of the top seven places in the malts category, and judging from the samples I recently received from Box in Sweden, there will be more success to follow from the country. Other outstanding performances in this year’s awards came from Zuidam in The Netherlands, Bushmills in Ireland, Balcones in America and Paul John in India.