The final dram in last week’s Twitter Tasting was one that I was rather skeptical about. The Black Art range was once announced as the replacement of the Blacker Still, but it didn’t really get up to that level. As far as I know it’s a mix or unusual and usual casks including bourbon, sherry and some wine casks too.
I have bought the first batch some years ago but that remains barely touched. I found I wasn’t fond of it. The guys from Living Room Whisky sent me a sample of the second batch. I’ll try to review those soon, maybe even this weekend so we have a proper head to head to head.
At twenty two years old this is the only whisky in the Twitter Tasting that has any old stock from before the reopening in 2001 in it. Even more so, it is only old stock and there is no new distillate in there.
I get tawny port wine at first, with heaps of fruits. Raisins, dried prunes. Some white oak, sticky toffee pudding (so dates too), a touch of salt, mint and waxed leather. This definetly is a cask driven whisky so I don’t get much of the initial spirit at all. Hard to compare to the others since it’s so different. Some sour cherries, balsamic vinegar and it certainly reminds me of Meantime’s Chocolate Porter. So thick chocolate ganache and porter.
The whisky gets a bit more leeway here, instead of the cask. Chocolate and porter continue, anise, dry red cherries and even some fenugreek. Like fenugreek might be used in French cheese. Some toasted oak and peat without the smoke. A little dry and bitter. There’s sweet fruitiness going on as well with strawberry jam, forest fruit jam and orange marmalade. Dark Chocolate. All this is rather thick and tastes like it’s a sauce instead of a whisky. Some dry tannins in there too.
The finish is long and dry with lots of fruit again. I get a tobacco note too which I didn’t get before. Very unconventional but there’s something that I don’t like too. I think it’s a bit too dry and it loses the juiciness of the fruits too much compared to the palate.
This is a very strange whisky. I get the Black Art association. But what do I think? The nose is fantastic with all those fruits and spices battling for top honours. After that it goes into a quick decline. The fruitiness and spices get weirder and weirder with more and more flavours in there that I don’t enjoy.
So a strange one indeed. Very promising and I could honestly nose this for hours. It’s utterly delicious there. The palate is less so and I started to doubt the deliciousness there. The finish is way out there. I just can’t wrap my head around it. As Steffen Brauner said on Twitter: The nose is delicious but then I lose interest.
I just keep thinking that I really really prefer Bruichladdich’s new products to their old stock, althought I’ve had quite some stunners from that range too. A lot of indies, and some official bottlings like the 40 year old (made more delicious by drinking it at the distillery).
Bruichladdich Black Art 3, 1989-2012, 48.7%, hard to get but should be around € 120.