Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Black Art 1989 Edition 03.1 22 Aged Years

Style: Sherry and Grassy

Nose:

Round, rich sherry signatures sided with baked tropical fruits. Black peppercorns, a whiff of gunpowder (not sulphur!), flint and minerals crushed and sprinkled on top of malt syrup. A touch of acetone, raspberries, cherry pie, pomegranate, heather honey swaying beautifully in the aroma. Subtle vanilla echoing at the bottom, sweet and comfortable.

Palate:

Rather sherry-driven on the first touch, sultanas, a wide array of red berries, blackcurrants, tawny, and roasted almonds blending together to give a fantastic weight of sweetness. Peppermint followed by some vegetal brushes – celery, fennel and even some onions forming a lower block. Light sprinkle of icing sugar on a chestnut tart, going a little bit earthy and starchy (?), taro malt to finish.

Finish:

Cherry puree mixing with potato starch. Ruby grapes, raisins – a sherry sweet finish.

Thoughts:

This actually turned out to be better than I first remembered, my impression back then was the structure was a bit loose with insufficient momentum in the spirit. Maybe I was being a bit too critical, wasn’t I? While the contents remained a mystery, this Black Art is undoubtedly driven and built on Sherry casks, then followed with some wine (I guess), then some Bourbon and maybe even a bit of Port, on the other hand vegetal notes carefully building underneath to complete the expression. Plenty of nuances going on, interesting. Not your usual dram I suppose, but overall it is pretty good.

☆ [Recommended]

[48.7% | Original Bottling | 1989 Distilled | 2012 Bottled | 12000 Bottles | Aged 22 Years | *]

-Esmond