By Patrick Barkham
As Degas didn't say, absinthe is for wimps. So too is Jägermeister, ouzo, and other nasty spirits with top notes of a hen night in Lesvos and base notes of vomit. Whisky made from a 17th-century recipe and distilled four times to reach up to 92% alcohol is proper, grown-up firewater. Jim McEwan, master distiller at the Bruichladdich distillery in western Scotland, was hard at it yesterday producing the first batch of what will be the world's strongest whisky when it is released in a decade or so.
It was known as "the precarious whisky" 300 years ago because one tablespoonful would make you live for ever and two could make you go blind. "If any man should exceed this, it would presently stop his breath, and endanger his life," as writer Martin Martin explained in 1695.