Bruichladdich X4+1 Deliverance: (Not) Rocket Fuel
More exposure for Bruichladdich - getting themselves on the telly this time! The below was reported on their blog:
"TV’s wine expert Oz Clarke and Top Gear’s James May attempted to run a high performance racing car fueled by our single malt whisky.
The charismatic presenters were filming for Oz and James’ Great British Adventure a new third series that follows on from their tours in series one and two of French and Californian vineyards, which will be broadcast later this year on BBC2.
We managed to get a zappy 150 mph Radical SR4 racing car thanks to Radical Sportscars, the Peterborough-based independent car manufacturer and Le Mans contender.
Clearly it was important that the engine was not modified in anyway for the new spirit. In 1881 the young Harvey brothers set out to make the purest spirit in Scotland when they built a state-of-the-art distillery on Islay. The testament to their successful design is that nothing has changed in 127 years. And the spirit is every bit as pure.
X4 was inspired by Martin Martin’s fantastic 1695 tasting note of a 4 times distilled spirit he encountered. Translated from the Gaelic as perilous whisky, “it at first taste affects all the members of the body: two spoonfuls of this last liquor is a sufficient dose; and if any man exceed this, it would presently stop his breath, and endanger his life.” Ideal then to run a racing car engine in this über-refined state.
Obviously Islay spirit cannot be called whisky until it is matured in oak casks for 3 years, but on the day it was first tasted by wine & spirit expert Oz Clarke for verification as single malt spirit before being filled in to the car’s fuel tank. Then, using an Atlantic shore road closed to traffic by the island’s entire police force - and cleared of sheep and cattle - the car achieved a hair-raising 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.
Distillery manager Duncan MacGillivray said “the exhaust smells much better than petrol. With fuel here being a whopping £1.50 - £1.60 a litre VAT, It’s potentially a sustainable ‘biofuel’ but there are catches: the duty paid to the government makes it a ridiculous £26 a litre, and besides, imagine desperate thirsty folk trying to syphon out your fuel...”
After the successful run, the police suggested breathalysing the car itself, but fortunately had the wrong type of breathalyser.
Previousy distilled X4 in 2006 and 2007 that has been matured in new oak casks has taken on exciting deep colours and highly evocative flavours of cinnamon and spices. A small release of X4 will be bottled in the autumn - but at a more down to earth 55% ABV.
Ordinary whisky would damage a car’s engine and management system and should not in any way be used to replicate this experiment."
A terrible blow for the notoriously publicity-shy distillery, but to cheer them (and us) up, here's a small raft of new releases including a new batch of the 18 year-old (which continues the theme of finishing in sweet wine casks - this time from Jurancon's Clos Urolat); and two very interesting full-term sherrycask-matured expressions of Bruichladdich 1998.
Now, the nerds amongst you will already know that Bruichladdich was mothballed between January 1995 and May 2001 - except for a six-week period in 1998 when then-owners Jim Beam brought their distilling team from the Isle of Jura distillery over for a busman's holiday. According to Andrew Jefford in the excellent 'Peat Smoke and Spirit', the Jura chaps made themselves busy, and knocked out between 100,000 and 120,000 litres of spirit - at 38ppm instead of the normal Bruichladdich 3ppm.
This heavily-peated spirit produced during that brief burst of activity went into different types of cask, and some of it has already been used as part of the blend for the 3D series. However, these two releases are from the stock that was filled into sherry casks and, sensibly, they have blended and bottled the two types of sherry cask separately. Okay, so lots of people have criticised Bruichladdich for putting out too many releases and messing around with daft wine finishes - but on this occasion, they are to be congratulated: these two sherry editions are items of genuine historical interest to Islay fans, and we can't wait to try them (hint hint).