“Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise,” was what author of The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron once said. We wonder now if she was a fan of mysterious whiskies, like the Bruichladdich Black Art series. They recently released the sixth edition of the collection — the Bruichladdich Black Art Edition 06.1. It carries the same identity of its predecessors: its spirits are aged from a mix of unknown casks, ranging from ex-bourbon and ex-wine casks.
While the Black Art series has been going on for a while now, it’s only head distiller Adam Hannett’s second Black Art release. But he’s been working on it ever since he stepped foot into the warehouse. “The spirit used in Black Art 6.1 is whisky that I have worked with since my first week in the warehouse. Under Jim’s (former master distiller) guidance and instruction, some of this spirit was re-casked to continue its journey and shape it in a new and exciting way,” said Hannett.
Although he’s being coy with the Bruichladdich Black Art Edition 06.1’s cask finishing, he did let out other details about the Scotch. For one, it’s limited to only 18,000 bottles. The next thing you should know is that the whisky is aged for 26 years and distilled in the year 1990. The unpeated Islay single malt Scotch whisky is bottled at a cask strength of 46.9% abv.
Although the casks are being left to your imagination, we can help you get an idea by its aroma and tasting notes. On the nose, the Black Art Edition 06.1 gives off incredible depth and richness. There are whiffs of black charred oak, blackberry jam, dark chocolate, apple, and elderberry. There is also a tinge of sweetness, hinting at lemon meringue pie and brown sugar.
Wet your lips with the first sip to prepare your palate — you’ll taste a richness of oak and fruit with vanilla custard. Take another sip and the Scotch opens up more to reveal layers of dark fruits, chocolate, ginger, and even a floral note of rose. Let it roll towards the back of your tongue and try taste the honeycomb and praline notes in the liquid. Clearly, the Black Art Edition 06.1 does not follow the usual flavour profiles of the other whiskies in Bruichladdich’s portfolio. But that’s what the Black Art series is all about — a playground for the distillers to go crazy with creativity.
“There may never be an understanding of how this whisky was created but tasting it and understanding why is more important,” said Hannett. “To compare and compartmentalise this exceptionally rare and unique dram is to miss the point of a whisky that is the essence of the distiller’s instinct, passion and experience. If you must ask, you will never know.”