A controversial 3 year-old single malt whisky inspired by a 1695 account of ‘perilous whisky’ has been rated better than 40 year old Scotches.
Bruichladdich X4+3, an experimental, quadruple distilled single malt from Islay came 6th - ahead of drams up to 13 times its age - when specialist whisky retailer Royal Mile Whiskies organised a tasting of 126 whiskies during the Edinburgh Festival.
The new whisky, feted by song, has been no stranger to controversy being dismissed as 'irresponsible' by the whisky industry governing body, the SWA.
Earlier this year Bruichladdich X4+3 was infamously referred to as “not cooking oil. Not diesel oil. Sewing machine oil” by whisky guru Charlie McLean in a piece of self-confessed Burns’ Day mischief-making by Times hacks.
The BBC’s James May and Oz Clarke, acknowledging the extraordinary purity of the 4 times distillation, managed to power a sports car at speeds in excess of 100 mph using ‘straight-off-the-still’ X4, at an eye-watering 90% ABV.
James May referred to the youthful three year old version of X4 in his TV series Drink to Britain as his ‘nirvana dram’.
French drinks giant Pernod Ricard recently launched a campaign, “Age Matters”, to reinforce the relevance of the age statement for single malt whisky which is being questioned by a new wave of smaller disitllers.
Bruichladdich MD, Mark Reynier, said about the X4+3: “the ‘+3’ refers to its age in cask; yes its young, yes its high strength, yes its controversial. We were just fascinated by the 1695 reference to usquebaugh-baul, the Gaelic for perilous whisky, that we had to give it a shot.”
“Of course this is a work in progress. We are maturing part of the X4 in brand new oak casks where its astounding purity and strength is drawing out flavours never experienced before in a Scotch whisky.”
“It’s very exciting; it shows you just what can be achieved with exceptional raw ingredients, a bit of distilling skill and whole leap of imagination. This result by whisky fans who actually put their money where their mouth is, proves if you take your time to do it right you don’t need half a century to pass by.”
Bruichladdich X4+3 is is a limited edition bottling at 63.5% ABV. Distributed in the UK by Blavod and is available in whisky specialists only. Contact Andrew Gray 0774 068 3115 or laddieshop.com