Scotch By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / November 12, 2020 The Bruichladdich distillery on the isle of Islay in Scotland, as we’ve explored over time, has amongst its various whisky ranges the Black Art series. Something of a playground for the distillery team there, the most unique thing about this occasional release is one never knows the cask type(s) the Scotch in the bottle comes from. Said theme continues with the latest release. The new Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 Edition 08.1: 26 Aged Years, according to those behind it, heralds from a time when the distillery was shuttered. It was distilled back in 1994 as an unpeated Islay single malt Scotch whisky and matured some 26 years in undisclosed cask types that only head distiller Adam Hannett knows before recently being bottled at a cask strength of 45.1% ABV. Bruichladdich Black Art 8.1 (image via Bruichladdich) “The cask influence here is not in the same style as previous editions but it has shaped this spirit beautifully,” noted Hannett in a prepared statement, ” allowing a more mellow, less intense style to come through.” Specifics from Bruichladdich around this release indicate it to be the eighth in the Black Art series and the fourth during Hannett’s tenure. It is non-chill filtered and of natural color, with just 12,000, individually numbered bottles being released. The price point is around $450 per 750 ml bottle. You’ll find official tasting notes below for your consideration. Colour – Hazel, rich copper. Nose – The complexity of flavours combining on the nose makes this a joy to try and decipher. Initially a Citrus, lime zest, fresh orange style is met with a rich caramel and oaky notes of dried apricot, pipe tobacco, maple syrup. Oak shavings and toasted hazelnuts. Vanilla syrup. Leather and poached pears with honey and apricot jam coming through as the complexity opens up and the Floral nature of our spirit shows its hand with rose and geranium and after a little time a hint of wild thyme on the breeze. The balance between the spirit and the oak is beautiful, with the oak nurturing the delicate nature of the spirit. That is the hallmark of this edition of Black Art. Taste – That citrus style, lemon zest and then the sweetness from the oak meets the palate beautifully. The texture is like warm honey, and brings notes of maple syrup, walnut, toasted oak and coconut. That delicate sweetness floods the palate with vanilla, dried apricot, caramel and millionaires shortbread. The light creamy texture and palate is so soft and gentle but packed with depth and as we draw towards the finish the delicate Bruichladdich DNA of soft stoned fruit comes to the fore. Finish – The finish is gentle, sweet caramel, dried fruit, sultana, lemon drizzle cake. Hazel nuts, milk chocolate. It’s softness is calming.