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#471

BLACK MAGIC

05 Apr 2017 By

This fifth iteration of Bruichladdich Black Art is out now. So what’s different about this, and more importantly, what do all those symbols mean?

What you want to know about Bruichladdich Black Art you can gleam from this short clip.

If you didn’t think you got any notion of it, that’s kinda the point. The Black Art series is meant to be mysterious: You don’t know what goes in there, and you don’t know what it should taste like, except for the tasting notes. Bruichladdich doesn’t want you to know. Head Distiller Adam Hannett doesn’t want you to know. The marketing department at the distillery has obfuscated the packaging with symbols and icons, ‘cos they don’t want you to know.

So what do we know? Let’s backtrack a bit. There were four iterations before this present Black Art 5, and all of them involve a meticulous selection, collection and vatting of standout casks over many years – and it has no rules. Except that the whole process stays true to the brand’s insistence on provenence and progressive thinking.

And we did taste Black Art 4, which is fairly epic, intense and robust, a wailing howl of a spirit, a whisky to calm a werewolf down. The 4 was also legendary master distiller Jim Murray’s last involvement on the series.

adam hannett bruichladdich

This 1992 vintage is the first to be created entirely by Head Distiller Adam Hannett (above). He owns this. Black Art 5 (48.4%) boasts fruity notes of mango, apricot and orange citrus. Some pineapple maybe, and hints of plum and tobacco. On the palate we got spicy cinnamon, a creaminess and a touch of minerality. The mouthfeel is elegant and sensual, a swim in a placid lake. Black Art 5 is the egghead cousin to the jockish 4. It won’t win the arm wrestle, but it’ll win the argument.

The cask type? Only Adam knows. But we do know that it’s 24 years old, and is unpeated, non-chill filtered, and colouring-free. That’s pretty much it. Oh yes, only 12000 individually numbered bottles were made. Should you buy one?

Y.E.S. Live a little, life’s more fun with a little mystery.

Where to find it?

Black Art 5 can be experienced at The Wall (76 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088497, Tel: 6225 7988) and La Maison du Whisky (80 Mohamed Sultan Rd, #01-10 The Pier, Singapore 239013, Tel: 6733 0059) and can be purchased at La Maison du Whisky for S$495.

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