A smaller bottling of Black Art 05.1 – the fifth release of Bruichladdichs beguiling, mysterious and super popular Black Art Series.
First released in 2017, this was the first Black Art bottling created by Adam Hannett, who took the reins of Bruichladdich from the previous Master Distiller, the legendary Jim McEwan.
As ever with Black Art bottlings, the formula for this bottling is top secret (as suggested by the bottle’s arcane esoteric symbols, the alchemical magic of the distiller is being practiced clandestinely here), but we do know that the youngest whisky in the bottling was distilled in 1992, with an age of 24.
We also know that this dram is unpeated, and that previous Black Art bottlings appear to have been matured in many different cask varieties, producing great complexity. Bruichladdich state that this whisky has been matured in a mixture of French and American oak barrels – but we do not know what wines or spirits may have been previously held in those barrels.
The result of this mystery and intrigue is a whisky that illustrates the classic floral house style of Bruichladdich, accompanied by notes of prunes, vanilla, brown sugar, toasted coconut, peaches, apricot, grassy malt, red grapes, honey, bright oak, slight sherry and toasted spice.
Perhaps a little more American oak character is present here than in previous Black Art expressions, but this is no bad thing. The spirits is bottled at a cask strength of 48.4% ABV, and without chill filtration or colouration, this is a satisfying, rich whisky.
A great start from Adam Hannett.