Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Bruichladdich. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
1992— President George H.W. Bush vomited on the Prime Minister of Japan, everyone is dancing to Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” Princess Diana and Charles split, and Bruichladdich is three years away from shuttering.
The Bruichladdich Distillery sat mothballed for seven years before distilling once again. However, over 1.2 million liters of barreled whisky sat idle. Hence the rare limited editions of select whisky dating back to 1984. Selling off the limited editions allowed Bruichladdich to revamp the distillery.
Black Art, not to be confused with the “dark arts,” is Bruichladdich’s mysterious and brooding whisky. Now on edition 09.1 under Jim McEwan’s successor, Adam Hannett, all we know is this version is the oldest Black Art. Although we are privy to the year it was distilled (1992), only Hannett knows the cask type that held the delicious brown liquor. However, since the Black Art is labeled under Bruichladdich instead of Port Charlotte, we do know the whisky is unpeated.
Bruichladdich is typically known for its transparency, which makes the Black Art label a bit of a black sheep. While it leaves us Bruichladdich fans in the dark, Hannet says this of the 09.1 Edition,
“With this edition of Black Art, inspiration was taken from the groundwork done in creating the first editions of this series, where there was a relentless pursuit to layer flavour.”
Let’s see how the Bruichladdich Black Art 1992 (Edition 09.1) layers up while I set a little of it in an offering on my altar.
Tasting Notes: Bruichladdich Black Art 1992 (Edition 09.1)
Vital Stats: 44.1% ABV. Unpeated Islay single malt aged for 29 years. Limited to 12,000 bottles. 700ml $650.
Appearance: Deep coppery amber
Nose: The nose starts off with bold blackberry and strawberry. Because it is cask strength with a hint of black cherry it feels like I poured myself some Robitussin. It reminds me of fruit cocktails cups with peach, pear, and pineapple.
Palate: The palate is fruit-forward, so much so I thought my glass was tainted. It drinks like fortified wine or brandy. Pineapple is more abundant on the palate than on the nose, but it drinks like syrupy juice from a can of fruit cocktail. The mouthfeel is light and the whisky does not feel cask strength. Because of its age, the oak is a big factor in the flavor, but at least not until the finish. Overall, it does give off that Robitussin quality with the cherry and sort of tar-like taste.
1992 proves to be a spectacular vintage for the Bruichladdich Black Art. The fruitiness of this whisky is far different from other offerings at the distillery. I think Cognac, Armagnac, and brandy drinkers may find the Black Art 09.1 Edition up their alley. Despite the medicinal qualities, I have enjoyed this more than other editions in the Black Art series.
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Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...