Bruichladdich Black Art was Master Distiller Jim McEwan’s personal pet project when he ran the Bruichladdich Distillery. I’ve been to several tastings with him playing the part of the enigmatic host, walking us through his whiskies and telling their tales, and none of the other whiskies seemed to get him as excited and worked up as when he was talking about this.
The story of how he creates the Bruichladdich Black Art changed a bit every time with added flare and dramatic details, but the detail that stayed consistent in his tales was the careful and meticulous ex-wine cask selection he’d go through to find the casks to be used in the creation of the Dark Arts. A whisky that only he knows the cask mix of and a project he masterminded all on his own in the hours after most of the crew has left the distillery for the day. For him this was a passion project.
The one thing we know for sure about the Bruichladdich Black Art is that it’s a mix of ex-Bourbon and ex-Wine casks. Bruichladdich has long been known for their different wine cask finishes, which used to take up a large amount of liquor store shelf space, but is a practice that’s since faded except in McEwan’s own witches brew and single cask selections. Cask which he would select by touch alone while crawling through the warehouse under the light of a full moon… if the stories are to be believed that is.
Bruichladdich Black Art Info
Region: Islay, Scotland
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon & ex-Wine
Age: 22 Years
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Bruichladdich Black Art Review
Wine, sherry, vermouth, malt, raisiny dark fruit, vanilla and light notes of spice and red wine vinegar. This is some dense heavy stuff right here.
Sherry, winey fruit, raisins, dried strawberries, dark fruit leather, roasted malt and a light spice and smoky char. Powerful with a serious bit of heft as it moves through the mouth.
Long with a strong malt presence accompanied by wine, fruit, mint and a touch of graham.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great balance, round full body and a slick feel.
Bruichladdich Black Art is a dense, full and tasty dram that bewitches the senses. It casts a spell of seduction that starts with the aroma and culminates in a Danse Macabre that joyfully makes its way from the tip of the tongue to the depths of the belly leaving a trail of dark notes. Tasty and aromatic with a lengthy finish to match it creates an entertaining and elegant journey.
The combination of wine casks and bourbon casks gives the Bruichladdich Black Art spice, fruit and depth in a way that’s unique to the distillery due to the wine cask finishes it did for so long. This is a is a whisky I’d happily sip on anytime and there’s no doubt this is a profile you won’t find anywhere else due to the massive variety of wine casks they have/had lying around to pull flavors from.
SCORE: 90-92/100 (A-, not consumed at home)
Bruichladdich Black Art Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 90
- Palate - 90
- Finish - 90
- Balance, Body & Feel - 90
Bruichladdich Black Art is a powerful Warlock of a whisky. Good stuff.