world's most alcoholic single malt ever made has been revived
by the ancient tradition of quadruple distilled single malt.
than 300 years ago the legendary traveller Martin Martin recorded
his impressions after encountering a similar whisky on his visit
to the Hebrides in 1695.
his travel book, The Western Islands of Scotland, Martin refers
to a quadruple distilled whisky known as "usquebaugh-baul"
- the Gaelic for 'perilous whisky' (thanks to Pat Mcgregor for
the translation) and wrote what is probably the world's oldest
whisky tasting note:
the first taste affects all the members of the body: two spoonfuls
of this last liquor is a sufficient dose; and if any man should
exceed this, it would presently stop his breath, and endanger
aim was to replicate this 300 year old tasting note from this
ancient recipe: the spirit run started at 11.30 on Monday the
Distiller Jim McEwan's tasting note on the new spirit: "It
first 'ran' from the stills at 92% then down to 88% which will
make an average of about 89-90% ABV.
must be very similar to the whisky tasted by Martin all those
years ago. On entry the flavour is cool, fizzy, citrus - lemon
and honey, then the taste of soft gooseberry and pear in syrup
evolve as it glides across the palette with cereal and toasted
muffins in the slipstream.
is no evidence of the power at this stage because the viscosity
is almost like glycerine, however as it engages the taste receptors
at the back of the tongue it really hits the booster button
and an amazing heat floods deep into the chest.
It's brilliantly fresh and fizzy with an extremely pleasant
afterburner effect and leaves an aftertaste that is superb,
not long, but unforgettable - believe me".
1695 the spirit would have been drunk straight from the still
- and would certainly have been perilous indeed. There are two
possible theories as to why it was originally made:
alcohol was, and is, used to extract active agents from plants
for medicinal use known as tinctures e.g Laudanum (opium) enjoyed
by Queen Victoria, Lavender Water (Lavender) by Oscar Wilde,
Gripe water (dill seeds) given to children up to thirty years
ago. The more it was distilled, the purer the alcohol, the better
the extraction of the active agent.
the danger for inexperienced distillers on home made equipment
is the separation of the potentially lethal methanol from the
good ethanol - the desirable middle cut. Both being clear, it
would have been difficult for the untrained eye to differentiate
between the two.
Consumption of the impure spirit could lead to blindness (hence
'blind drunk') and ultimately death. Consequently, distilling
three or even four times would have reduced this risk in the
days before proper distilling techniques were employed.
American Oak casks have been filled for maturation. It will
lose strength to the angels as it matures. When it is deemed
to be ready to drink by Master Distiller Jim McEwan, it will
be Islay bottled at the strength deemed appropriate at that
will be further matured for the maximum term: starting with
such high alcohol, this unique whisky will still be maturing
well in to it's seventieth year. Another first.