The Black Art Series from Bruichladdich is almost legendary. Created by Jim McEwan, this is a vatting of different casks, but the type is kept top secret. Black Art is of course a nod to alchemy. This one was created with malts that were put to sleep in 1990 and brought together after 23 years of maturation, to create a release 6.000 bottles strong. It was Jim’s last Black Art, for he passed on the baton to Adam Hannett, the current Master Distiller, in 2015.
Very fruity nose on red berries, but also blueberries, almonds and honey. Soft on spices. Icing sugar and dark chocolate. I cannot shake the impression that wine casks were involved, for there is a mildly sour – not off-putting – note as well. Good balance.
On the palate, that’s the first thing I notice! Sweet and sour red wine on top of the dark and sweet red fruit, making it a tad sharp. The typical Bruichladdich DNA remains recognizable though. That’s craftmanship. There is a lot going on here.
The finish is medium long and feisty.
You can still find a bottle for 250 to 350 EUR. Not cheap, but very good.