Black Art, Ninja Whisky and an Islay That Isn’t

I admit that I have a problem with Bruichladdich.

On the one hand, this is a very prolific distillery with a large fandom, even among my close whisky friends. On the other hand, I can’t stomach (or nose, actually) the lactic baby spit-up aroma so characteristic of their “regular” products. Yet, I always am willing to taste, and have actually found that the “non-Bruichladdich Bruichladdichs”, like Octomore, Black Art and Port Charlotte can be quite delightful.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Black Art was distilled in 1990, and matured for part of its life in ex bourbon casks. Then, however, Jim McEwan works some of his black arts on the liquid, and finishes it in a variety of casks (some of which are, obviously, ex sherry casks), in a highly guarded secret combination. The occult symbols on the bottle and the suggestive “Black Art” name, elude to this secret process and to it’s highly “initiated” target market.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Bruichladdich Black Art 1990, Edition 04.1, 23 Years Old (49.2% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Deep Bronze, with a very reddish hue, thin legs that run relatively quickly.

Nose: Toast from white bread, dusty cinnamon, dry sherry and a mixture of dried and some fresh fruit, with touches of something tropical and just a hint of peat in there.

Palate: This is a very sweet whisky with brown sugar, sherry and pepper spices with a somewhat metallic note in the taste.

Linger: Fresh, ripe apricots with a linger that’s long on the tongue but short in the throat.



While this is a tasty whisky and a lovely expression, its price sets its value-for-money relatively low, which is a shame.

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