Early on, we decided to create an entirely Swedish whisky, made in a Swedish way with Swedish ingredients. It was important to find a distinctive Swedish taste instead of just making a Swedish copy of a Scotch whisky.
Much of the world’s whisky is aged in American Bourbon-casks – from Jack Daniels, for instance. Casks that have previously been used for maturing sherry are also popular, thanks to the aroma it adds to the aged product. However, to create a whisky that was 100% Swedish, we wanted to explore the option of aging in casks made from Swedish oak. After all, wonderful oak forests… we have plenty of those in Sweden!
We ordered the very first Swedish cask and had it delivered in 2000. We discovered that Swedish oak is spicier, producing notes reminiscent of black pepper. A Swedish oak cask also produces hard, more intense flavours. We found it was a cask that promised something more, something different and distinctive; it gave us a whole new dimension to work with and, so, it has been the cask we have used ever since.
Casks coopered from Swedish oak create a more firm and spicy flavour. Before the wood is turned into casks, it is dried before being coopered by hand. The inside of each cask is then charred to open up the woodgrain, which helps the flavour of the whisky develop. Our Swedish oaks are much harder compared to the American oak for example, which is more porous. That means Swedish oak has to be cut in parts and thereafter staves resulting in less material from a Swedish oak that can be used to create a cask.
In 2003, we launched our Swedish oak casks as an ageing option for cask owners in Mackmyra Reserve. In 2008, we launched Den Första Utgåvan (The First Edition), where 5,4% had finished on Swedish oak casks. In the spring of 2015, we changed both the name and the look of Den Första Utgåvan, rebranding it as Svensk Ek (Swedish Oak).
10% of the whisky in Svensk Ek has been aged in Swedish oak casks. The character is spicy, with notes of sandalwood, dried ginger, black pepper, roasted oak and herbs. The spiciness is complemented by fruity undertones, bearing hints of vanilla and toffee, which come from oak casks previously used to age Bourbon.
Svensk Ek cask and bottle both won gold at the 2016 Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival. The bottle has also previously received gold in the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition and from the equally prestigious International Taste and Quality Institute. Bottled Svensk Ek serves as an introduction to the whisky’s taste profile. If its profile pleases you, you can move on to your own 30-litre cask of 100% Swedish oak.
/ Malin Åberg, Marketing Coordinator