Bruichladdich Black Art 5: Unpeated Islay Single Malt Scotch

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From an admittedly directionless 19-year-old welcoming visitors to the Bruichladdich distillery, Adam Hannett has risen through the ranks and now guards the flame of the progressive Hebridean distillery as the Head Distiller of Bruichladdich. Ultimately responsible for the quality of the spirits at Bruichladdich, Adam makes the final call on when a spirit is ready to go from the cask to be bottled, and has placed his stamp on the highly-anticipated Bruichladdich Black Art 5, an unpeated Islay Single Malt Scotch whisky that is equal parts mystery and excellence.

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Fifth in the limited edition series, this 1992 vintage is the first to be created entirely by Head Distiller Adam Hannett. Years in the making, Black Art 5 is an antique copper liquid that boasts lavish fruit notes of cherry, mango, apricot and orange citrus. Adam likes that each taste of the dram is different, that the constant evolution of flavour lets the drinker tease out fruity notes of pineapple, plum and apricot as hints of tobacco and spicy cinnamon excite the palate.

The age of the whisky is apparent in the decadence of the mouthfeel, with a quality that can only be described as velvet sensually caressing the tongue. As the flavours begin to fade into a gentle, floral finish, the spirit of Bruichladdich shines forth in its elegance and audacity.

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The creation of these most enigmatic Black Art cuvees was the brainchild of legendary Master Distiller Jim McEwan. Unbound by rules or preconceptions about whisky, the conception of Black Art involves meticulous selection, collection and vatting of standout casks over many years. Not unlike an industrious wizard eyeing his secret vials of magical potions, Jim McEwan, and now his successor Adam Hannett, have a thorough catalogue of casks that have piqued their interest and shown sparks of unbridled potential.

“Just before Jim retired in 2015, he took me to one side and handed me this recipe for the next iteration, Black Art 5. It was an emotional moment,” recounts Adam Hannett. “I have to say I took the recipe from Jim’s hand and dutifully ignored it. This had to be my Black Art.”

Bottled at a cask strength of 48.4%, Bruichladdich Black Art 5 is matured entirely on Islay and graces the world in 12,000 individually numbered bottles.

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