That Jim McEwan is a crafty fellow to reopen the Bruichladdich door for me. That door opened and closed really quickly years ago when I first tried the “unpeated” Laddie Ten. My palate was relatively unseasoned at the time and it took years for me to venture back out into the Laddie waters again. I assumed that anything Bruichladdich was going to be peaty to some degree because of the phenols that are literally present in both the water and the land on the island. As it turns out, that’s not the case. Older Bruichladdichs range tremendously from one end of the flavor spectrum to the other. I’ve since gained an appreciation for many releases from this wonderful distillery.
Black Art is and will likely remain a mystery to everyone but a select few at Bruichladdich. Each release is slightly different but it’s all high quality, well-aged (20+ year old) whisky. Looking at the wide variety of cask types used in other releases like “The Classic Laddie,” I’d expect various wine casks to be at play in each Black Art Release.
Bruichladdich Black Art 4.1 is a 1990 vintage bottled in 2013, making this release 23 years old. It’s non-chill filtered, natural color, and bottled at 49.2% ABV
|Soft sweetness, honey, cloves, milk chocolate, vanilla, sea salt, slightly briny, orange, blackberries and raspberries. A wine note appears after a few minutes.
|Big spice, cinnamon, mulling spices, vanilla, subtle oak, red berries, a bit of sourness, sultanas, stewed fruits, dried cherries.
|A truly decadent finish. Malty, sherry, chocolate covered cherries. Oak lingers for a while at the end as well as the resurgence of some saltiness.
|Complex, fruity, and that chocolate note really works for me. This is the first Black Art I've tried. Hopefully it's not the last.