Review of Intelligens, by Horst Lüning

Horst Lüning

The Swedish-based Mackmyra distillery is located two hours to the north of Stockholm and produces two types of raw whisky from pure malted barley. These two types feature different ways of drying malt, the first one being the hot-air drying method, while the second one is the kiln-dried approach over peat smoke. Ultimately, it’s the subsequent, multi-year aging process that occurs in several unique casks and culminates in a wide range of whisky varieties, which connoisseurs have grown to appreciate.

Thus, casks featuring different types of oak are used, such as American white oak, European oak or special Swedish oak. However, that’s not the only important aspect. The fluid that was previously stored in the casks also plays a decisive role: How much of the oak essence has already been extracted from the wooden lining by other whiskies or wines? How much of the liquid has remained in the oak staves’ pores and has resurfaced in the whiskey? Mackmyra is renowned for its extreme variety of various casks, which were previously used for storing strong wines such as sherry or port, but also fruity wines made of cherries and numerous types of berries.

If the aim is to create a whisky with an extremely complex taste, then a master blender will mix a batch using a variety of casks, thus creating a unique taste. This whisky will remain a single malt, since all of the casks stem from the same distillery. So, what can customers expect? In recent years, Mackmyra has introduced a substantial number of distinctly blended single malt whiskies to the market and gained extensive experience in the process. Tapping into the full potential of the available casks would lead to tens of thousands of possible combinations, thus representing a virtually impossible feat for humans alone.

Together with Fourkind, the Finnish-based data analysis company, and cloud computers from Microsoft, an artificial intelligence approach was developed specifically for the purpose of sifting through the unwieldy amount of possible whisky varieties, in an effort to select the ones that had been the most well received among connoisseurs thus far. However, the ultimate decision regarding the final recipe was still left up to Angela D’Orazio, Master Blender.

The first AI (Artificial Intelligence) whisky is available now on the market under the name Intelligens AI-01.

AROMA Hints of smoke accompanied by dry citrus notes and fresh apples. Slightly savory, offset by vanilla and caramel.

TASTE Unusually complex and earthy, fruity with a significantly savorier hint of oak that is reminiscent of old tanned leather.

FINISH Alternately dry and sweet, with a long, captivating finish.

/ Horst Lüning, &