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Sampling X Muse Vodka, Blended Barley Vodka From Scotland

Published On Saturday 10 Sep 2022 by Sticky Beak
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There must be something in the ether; in quick succession I’ve been asked to review two separate alcohol producers, one locally and this one, X Muse Barley Vodka from Scotland. Vodka was my first love from back in the day when I began my foray into the world of clubbing at my hometown’s local nightclub; served as a ‘short’, it meant that when the DJ dropped my favourite banger I could down it quickly and strut onto the dance floor.

X Muse (pronounced Tenth Muse) is a tad more sophisticated than your regular, mass-produced Vodka though; it’s a blended Barley Vodka, which makes it even more distinctive. The marketing literature had my head spinning; this is seriously arty, high-brow stuff drawing on Mythology, Art, Science and Agriculture in its production and design. If you want to delve into this then head over to the website, I’m not going to go into it in any great detail (there’ll just be a bit)– my mission is to tell you what it tastes like, what we did with it and how you can get serious kudos from it! Sound good? Well read on then...

Despite the courier’s best efforts to dampen our spirits -no pun intended! - by crumpling the outer white packaging box, we still got a flutter of excitement as we lifted the (quite simply) stunning bottle out of its confines and into our eager mitts. This seriously gives you the feels as you caress the tactile undulations on the bottles’ side, that emulate Charles Jencks’ ‘Cells of Life’ landforms in Scotland. The off-white X Muse label is set into its own recess in the midst of all this beauty, rather than being merely stuck onto the glass’ surface. Honestly, if you want to impress house guests or give a distinctive gift, then this gem will give you muchos kudos, reams of bragging rights and brownie point to last a lifetime!

Underneath the bottles’ white wax seal is the equally unique glass stopper, which is embossed with the inscription ‘plura latent, quam patent’, providing another element of touch stimulation. For those not well versed in Latin (I’m not!) then the inscription roughly translates as ‘more is concealed than revealed’, linking in with the concept in Greek Mythology that the tenth muse represents the unseen, hidden and undefined nature of elements, as opposed to the other nine muses who collectively inspire and symbolise the fields of science, literature and the arts.

So, having got the bottle open, it was time to pour it into our crystal tumblers and discover the product behind the hype. I have to say that it has a beautifully comforting aroma, one that is lightly malty; usually Vodka doesn’t have a detectable smell, so this was something remarkable even before we took our first sip. Rightly or wrongly, I assumed this was attributable to the two varieties of Barley used in X Muse? Which actually brings me to an important part about the creation of this Scottish, blended Barley Vodka. It isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill barley that’s used here, oh no! Heritage Plumage Archer and Marris Otter grain types, both selected because of their flavour and distilled separately before being married together to create the chemical wondrousness that is X Muse, impart a taste to the base spirit which is intricate and luxuriant enough to be appreciated neat (over ice, or not) as well as bringing a stylish element to cocktails and martinis.

As you would expect from a tipple skilfully crafted, X Muse reveals its character slowly and sultrily, and that enticing warmth unfurled down our throats after about 5 seconds. Liquid tendrils caressed our taste buds, tantalising us with a smooth creaminess that was delicate yet sophisticated and multi-layered ,and inviting us to explore it more. Who are we to turn down an opportunity and savour more of this sublime Vodka?

The logical next step was to keep it simple and add plain tonic water and a slice of lemon. Having done this we both eagerly took a sip, keen to see what difference, if any, this change had made to the flavour on our palates. It most certainly had altered the flavour profile! I experienced gentle pear drops and a rounded floral hint, His Nibs got a little smidge of pepper and smoke in his mouth, but we both fell in love with this charming minx; how could you not be bowled over by this chic, classy number as its extrovert side invites you to party?

We extended our Bank Holiday time by mixing up some Cosmopolitan cocktails, The Man channelling his inner ‘Tom Cruise in Cocktail’ as he avidly shook the shaker to mix up the tipples! Whilst he was engaged doing that, I went off to get the glasses; I came back with what we call our ‘Goddess Glasses’, a pair of handmade lead crystal and  English pewter beauties that we purchased many, many moons ago in the early days of our relationship. My thinking was that if we were creating delicious tipples from such a stylish Vodka, then the resulting cocktail should be served in equally magnificent glasses.

There are loads of recipes for Cosmopolitans, but we had X Muse Vodka, Cointreau, Cranberry juice and a squeeze of citrus in ours. The result was nice and fruity, with a hint of sharp bounce and an exquisite warmth from the X Muse vodka; what a marvellous finish to the Bank Holiday!

Thank you to X Muse’s PR team that kindly sent us the bottle to review, I hope I’ve managed to convey just how delicious and versatile it is. If you’d like a slice of the action, or are searching for a special gift, then head over to the X Muse website www.xmusevodka.com  to purchase a bottle (or two). You can thank me later, when you take that first, glorious sip (you might want to extend thanks to the distillers too!)

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