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Black Bowmore and X4 Islay Spirit

Before we get excited about another new expression from the progressive Hebridean Distillers there is another Islay whisky related news item to report first. I found a nice news item in the Grand Forks Herald, an American newspaper which serves North Dakota. They picked up a message from the Canadian Press about a Bowmore whisky enthusiast who gave himself a nice present for Christmas, at least for a couple of days that is:

A Winnipeg man has purchased both bottles of a limited edition of Bowmore Black Islay Single Malt Whisky that were brought into the province last week. The total price of the two most expensive bottles ever sold in Manitoba — $8,726.32. Kurt Janzen, store manager of the Bunn’s Creek liquor mart, where one bottle was displayed in a protective case, said neither bottle was officially for sale until Monday, but the man secured both on Saturday.

It's a relatively short distance from Bowmore to Bruichladdich where Mark Reynier announced yet another new expression, X4 Islay Spirit: In 1695 a Hebridean traveller, Martin Martin, wrote of an ancient, powerful spirit known as 'usquebaugh-baul' (oosh-ker-vah-voll), Gaelic for 'perilous whisky'. He was told: "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." Continue reading.....Its fearsome reputation came from a unique quadruple distillation - the extra two distillations increasing the purity of the spirit while raising the strength to 90% ABV. Aquavit, vodka, eau-de-vie, usquebaugh all mean 'water of life' for in mediaeval times of disease and plague alchemists believed, with good reason, that high strength alcohol was a life preserver.

The new spirit X4 was recreated in 2008 by distilling director Jim McEwan at Islay’s Bruichladdich distillery, before being reduced to a less perilous 50% ABV at bottling. "X4 has loads of flavour, it’s no mere vodka substitute. It’s the original usquebaugh, the spirit of the Vikings that our forefathers knew. They didn’t wait to mature it, nor did we. It’s a little bit of history - so savour the flavour."

Tag: bowmore bruichladdich x4 islay spirit

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