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Brothers,
I’d write to call attention to a small distillery located in a couple of hours north of Stockholm Sweden. I realize that Stockholm is not in Scotland, and so you may question the significance of my posting to our blog. But, I think what this distillery has attempted is worthy of your attention as it may create some exciting opportunities for Scotch whisky, too.

Mackmyra Distillery
Mackmyra started distilling in 1999, and they claim to be the most northerly distillery in the world. The distillery is the only whisky distillery in Sweden, and they draw their materials from the raw materials in Sweden creating a unique whisky offering.

The distillery determined that they wanted to provide the consumer a choice of how they would like to enjoy the single malt whisky from Mackmyra. Mackmyra essentially came up with two recipes—one called Elegant, the other called Smoke, and the spirit is to be aged in a choice of 3 different barrels (ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, or new Swedish oak barrels) producing six different varieties. To produce Smoke, the distillery uses juniper brush for spice on a bog-moss peat while Elegant is their original recipe born to be balanced and to pull it’s flavors more from the cask.

What really makes Mackmyra unique in the whisky industry right now is that they require you to buy an entire cask, and you can manage when the cask actually gets bottled. Yearly, the distillery will provide the owner of the cask with tasting samples, and once the whisky reaches 3 years in age, the owner of the cask can choose to bottle or let the spirt age longer.

These casks are much smaller than a normal cask (perhaps a quarter-cask like Laphroaig uses?) and because of the smaller cask, the whisky will mature more quickly because of the greater contact the spirit has with the wood cask. Mackmyra will also allow you to bottle partial casks and leave the remainder for one more bottling, but the trick is that each bottling must be for at least 12 bottles. Interestingly, shipping of the bottles was ‘on arrangement at time of bottling’, and no more details provided (beware–perhaps a headache to ship to the US?). The bottles will carry personalized labels, too.

The cost of a personal cask ranges from $1,263 (Elegant bourbon) to $3,575 (Smoke Swedish Oak). No small investment, and I don’t believe that includes shipping.

Reading about Mackmyra is intriguing, but I’m skeptical considering personal experiences that some of us have had with the Macallan scheme. Yet, the difference here is that this form of whisky marketing is being driven by the distillery itself, and therefore may be better managed.

I think one drawback though is that Mackmyra will never be able to establish a consistent taste profile. Think Macallan 12, think Laphroaig 10…you know what you’re getting. Mackmyra, the personal whisky, will never have a recognized taste profile, and that could be detrimental to the longevity of the brand. That seems to be ok with the distillery as they personalize all labels.

Please check it out for yourself at www.mackmyra.com

Have we determined who will be hosting 2006, 1st Qtr meeting yet? Any dates work best? March is quickly coming upon us. If we are unable to set the date this week, I suggest we cancel the 1Q06 meeting and get back on track with an early 2Q06 meeting.

I regret that I will not be able to attend the Feb 25th 4Q make-up meeting due to long-standing plans for that date. Maybe the host, Brother Lakeview, will be so kind as to invite me over for a private tasting some other time. 🙂

Anyone get the gift of single malt over the holidays? I must have been bad because all I got was a cold. Well, my holidays weren’t really that bad. Hopefully everyone had a restful few weeks and found some time to enjoy your favorite scotch. Laphroaig 10 was the honored guest at my house.

Cheers!
Brother Bluff

While browsing the aisle of wine at Marshall Field’s, I came across six bottles of Old Pulteney 12 year. All liquor was priced 10% off, so I ended up getting one bottle for about $20 after tax.

How funny–it won’t be long before I’ll be shopping for socks and picking up my favorite scotch all in one trip.

Seriously, though, I won’t count on finding any real finds there in the future. I think the total offering of single malts at the Hawthorne Mall Marshall Field’s was Old Pulteney, Glenlivet 12, and maybe a bottle of Macallan 12. The Old Pulteney was next to the Effen Vodka. It was an odd offering for Marshall Fields, but perhaps the price point was within what they think they could move in that small marketplace boutique.

Ledaig now comes in a port wood and sherry finish, retail approx $30 each. I was unable to find an age expression on either. I was unable to find out much more on the web about this release. The Burn Stewart Distillery home page hasn’t been updated in a while with fresh news.