SCOTLANDWHISKY. See the country. Taste the spirit

The BBC's James May and Oz Clarke experiment with Bruichladdich distillery's spirit and a racing car


Press Release issued 11th August 2008

A BBC program filmed an unusual biofuel experiment on the whisky island of Islay.

TV's wine expert Oz Clarke and Top Gear's James May  attempted to run a  high performance racing car on a special  distillation of Bruichladdich single malt  whisky.

The presenters were filming for Oz and James' Great British Adventure,  the third series, that follows on from their educational wine tours in French and Californian vineyards.

A 150 mph Radical SR4 racing car from Radical Sportscars, the Peterborough-based manufacturer, was selected for the test. The engine was not modified in anyway at all.

Bruichladdich's unique  quadruple-distilled X4 Islay Spirit was first tasted by wine & spirit expert Oz Clarke for proof before 3 litres were  filled in to the car's fuel tank.

Using an Atlantic shore road closed to traffic by the island's 5 policemen - cleared of sheep and cattle -  the racing car achieved a hair-raising 0-60 in 3.5 seconds over four runs.

"The exhaust smells much better than petrol", said Duncan MacGillivray, Bruichladdich distillery manager, "sure it's a  sustainable biofuel; but at 26 a litre, the Duty and VAT isn't!

Fuel here is a whopping 1.50 - 1.60 a litre - so it's not a viable alternative - just yet. The police even tried to breathalyse the car but fortunately they had the wrong type of tester.

Youtube film:

Notes for Editors:

The Radical's 1500cc engine generates 205 bhp. The X4 Islay spirit in an unmodified engine generated only  5 bhp less.

Oz and James' Great British Adventure will be broadcast later this year on BBC2.

X4 Islay spirit,  the purest single malt in Scotland, is uniquely four times distilled in pot stills. Single malt whisky is usually double distilled.

X4, or any newly made spirit, cannot be called whisky until it is matured in oak casks in Scotland for 3 years.

X4 Islay spirit already maturing in new oak casks has taken on surprisingly deep dark colours and evocative flavours of cinnamon and spices thanks to it's purity and strength.

A small release of X4 will be bottled in the autumn at 55% ABV.

Martin Martin writing of his 1695 tour of the islands "a Description of the Western Islands of Scotland" mentioned a 4 times distilled spirit (translated from Gaelic as perilous whisky ) that "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."

Standard whisky would damage a car's engine and management system and should not in any way be used to replicate this experiment.

Featured Distilleries

Featured Hotels (Embassies)

Cuillin Hills Hotel

Tour Packages

4 Day - Islay Whisky Tour

Tour Packages

Map of Scotch Whisky distilleries in Scotland.JPG

Sign up

Sign up for our newsletter and get a FREE distillery map of Scotland.