View Full Version : Islay distillery to revive world’s ‘most potent’ single malt whisky

02-26-2006, 04:51
Islay distillery to revive world’s ‘most potent’ single malt whisky

By Jenifer Johnston

The world’s “most alcoholic single malt whisky” looks set to be created tomorrow at an Islay distillery.
The usquebaugh-baul blend will be at least a senses-stunning 92% alcohol and possibly as high as 94%, and comes from an ancient island recipe in which a single malt is quadruple distilled.
Bruichladdich, the firm behind the “whisky adventure”, have been working on the project for months. Mark Reynier, managing director of the firm, said: “To be honest I’m just hoping the distillery doesn’t explode.”
Reynier and Bruichladdich’s master distiller Jim McEwan have been fascinated with the idea of producing a limited run of usquebaugh-baul since reading about the whisky in a historic travelogue.
Martin Martin, a writer and traveller, toured Islay in 1695 and published his account of life on the islands in his work A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland in 1703.
Martin wrote of usquebaugh-baul: “...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 his life.”
Now Bruichladdich are set to re-create the whisky in a limited run which connoisseurs will surely be keen to collect, although they will have to wait for a minimum of ten years for the whisky to mature. The alcohol percentage will drop one to two percent each year.
Reynier said: “In the long-run we will be looking at producing around 5000 bottles, and I honestly couldn’t put a cost on it. It is a challenge.
“Although Martin’s note hints at the dreadful consequences of sipping more than a teaspoonful, this will, I hope, have very floral qualities to it. Despite the high alcohol content you know it’s whisky.”
Martin’s description of usquebaugh-baul may well be the world’s first tasting note, said Reynier, although despite extensive research the origin of the Gaelic name of the whisky cannot be pinned down.
McEwan added: “It should be very similar to the whisky tasted by Martin when he came to the island. It will be very floral, but most importantly it will take your breath away.”
Annabel Meikle, whisky taster at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Edinburgh, said the quadruple distilling process is “a hugely unusual endeavour”.
“There are lots of rules in whisky, but this certainly shows it is good fun to break them.
“I am very curious to see what the final taste will be like, although I imagine you would need to mix in a lot of water in order to do that.”
Stephen McBride of the Lismore Bar in Glasgow, winner of the Malt Whisky Bar of the Year, added that whisky lovers would certainly be curious about usquebaugh-baul, “but I don’t imagine serving anyone more than one dram in a night”.
The process will be captured live on Bruichladdich’s webcams tomorrow. 26 February 2006

02-26-2006, 05:47
That's interesting. Spirit distilled at that high a proof would not qualify (I believe) to be called whiskey in the U.S. If they are using a conventional column apparatus I wonder how the flowery taste arises. But why would this distiller even own a column still and rectifier? Probably they are doing multiple pot distillations, which would be an inefficient way to make whisky of course but might leave substantial secondary constituents in the whisky. It is interesting that there is a revival of cask-strength, and "higher", whiskies. The Stagg phenomenon is not alone clearly, but of course in modern times anyway the barrel strength idea came from Scotland and one can see people are pushing it even further there. This drink will be a curiosity but I wonder why they are aging it ten years? There won't (presumably) be that much secondary to modify in that spirit. Even if there is, if one wanted to duplicate a whisky as sold hundreds of years ago, why not sell it new since all spirit was consumed unaged then? Plus you can make money faster that way. :) In the late 1800's some grain whisky in the Lowlands was sold at a very high ABV, this current idea sounds something like that yet what cuts across it is the fact of making it in a stronghold of double pot distillation and vigorous flavours, Islay.

02-26-2006, 08:48
It is interesting that there is a revival of cask-strength, and "higher", whiskies. The Stagg phenomenon is not alone clearly, but of course in modern times anyway the barrel strength idea came from Scotland and one can see people are pushing it even further there. Even more interesting is that the cask-strength movement is accelerating even as major brands get watered down (like WTRR going to 90 proof, or Jack Daniel's being dropped to 80 :deadhorse:). Hello, bean counters - you seem to be screwing up!

02-26-2006, 16:11
A friend of mine made this comment:

"A monumental act of futility.

It was born as Scotch, but raised by a pack of Vodka."

07-18-2006, 03:02
Does anybody have any idea when the product mentioned above is to be made and if and when it will be available and the cost? And what the finished products name will be?

07-18-2006, 07:34
With their other specialty/experimental products, Bruichladdich has sold "case futures", which means that you buy a case now and in ten years or whenever they'll let you know it's ready and you can come pick it up or arrange for it to be shipped. (I'm subscribed for a case of Octomore, their ultra-peated whiskey, which should be ready around 2010.) They may do something different with this product since one wonders whether anyone will want a whole case of it. If you poke around on their web site (www.bruichladdich.com (http://www.bruichladdich.com)) you can probably find more information.

08-30-2006, 19:24
This one certainly got my interest and I just found a place where you can reserve your case of 6 bottles. (http://www.laddieshop.com/acatalog/Futures.html) It's almost $600 USD though and shipping is probably going to be another $100, probably more. It's set to be aged for no less than 8 years. I'm intrigued but not $600 (+whatever it will cost to ship something like that 8+ years from now) intrigued.

08-31-2006, 06:23
Sounds like a complete rip-off ! I might stretch to £30, from the local off licence.