Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottler: Distiller
ABV: 48.4%
Score: 97 points

Bruichladdich Black Art 5.1. Image courtesy Bruichladdich.While Bruichladdich usually takes transparency to the extreme, Black Art is the lone exception. Jim McEwan and Adam Hannett are the only ones who know the makeup of each version, and this is Adam’s first Black Art since taking over as master blender when Jim retired. All we know is that the youngest whisky in this one is 24 years old and the 48.4% ABV bottling strength, and Adam won’t say any more than that.

The nose is complex and mystical with notes of raisins, plums, blackberries, licorice, pipe tobacco, and old wet leather such as you’d find if you left a football or a baseball glove out in the rain. The taste starts off dry and almost astringent before the fruit and spice notes kick in with a healthy slice of Christmas cake, powdered sugar, and the combination of chocolate and marshmallow that you’d find in a s’more (without the graham crackers). Then, it morphs into something different with a subtle dry oakiness, dried peaches, apricots, and banana chips. The finish is dry and long, but subtle with dried fruits, a kiss of oak, and muted spices. Outstanding! (November, 2016)