Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 Edition 07.1

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.

1994— skating princess, Nancy Kerrigan suffers attack by rival, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband; alternative music fans mourn the suicide of Kurt Cobain; the Bruichladdich distillery closes for what could have been that last time. Adam Hannett, Bruichladdich’s Head Distiller, honors 1994 with the seventh edition of the Bruichladdich Black Art expression. 

The Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 Edition 07.1 is Hannett’s third release since taking over Jim McEwan’s place as head distiller in 2016. Only Hannett knows the cask type for the mysterious Black Art releases. Leaving us Bruichladdich drinkers in the dark, this is what he says of the expression,

“This spirit endured in Bruichladdich’s warehouses when the distillery had been forgotten. The quality of the liquid after 25 years is a significant sign of guardianship passing from one generation to the next. I feel quite honoured to have worked with it.”

The Bruichladdich Distillery sat mothballed for seven years before distilling once again. However, over 1.2 million litres 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

Let’s just see what 25 years of sitting undisturbed does to the Islay unpeated whisky… 

Bruichladdich Black Art 1994

Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 (image via Bruichladdich)

Tasting Notes: Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 Edition 07.1

Vital Stats: 48.4% ABV. Cask strength aged 25 years in a cask only the head distiller, Adam Hannett, knows. 7th expression in the limited edition series. Just 12,000 hand-numbered bottles were produced. 750ml ~$350.

Appearance: Chestnut with ruby port

Nose: Cherry and raisin announce themselves first. The whisky is rich with sweetness. Fig and brown sugar add some depth. At the end is bold dry oak with allspice and clove. 

Palate: I get the reminiscent taste of charred barbecue like burnt ends smothered in sweet barbecue sauce. I get a slightly metallic taste with iodine on the finish. Additionally, the finish is tannic and bitter. It’s not overpowering as it’s more similar to strong black tea or dark roasted espresso beans. The afterglow is nice and warming with spice at the back of the throat. 

The Takeway

Summary

The Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 Edition 07.1 is a beast compared to a beauty. It's moody and complex, and while I typically love masculine flavors on the palate, it just came of slightly harsh than I preferred. Specifically, I couldn't get rid of the metallic taste even tried on different occasions and neat or with water. I like a good mystery, but I love Bruichladdich for the transparency they pride themselves on. I just want to know what the barrel or barrels this whisky has been in.

It is definitely worth a taste. I'm going to revisit it at a later date.

3.5
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