This one is another ‘Laddie oddball. Master Distiller Jim McEwan likes to play it close to the chest with his Black Art releases and not let on exactly what is going on here, but I’m thinking it may be a bit of an orgy of wine casks (maybe a little port or sherry too?). A sort of ‘throw your keys in the bowl and see what happens’ sort of event.
Esoteric imagery and hints of midnight conjuring aside, what we ultimately end up with is a fairly mature (21 years) Bruichladdich that has spent some time in some quirky casks. The distillate itself is from the bygone era of the distillery, prior to its’ mothballing in ’94, however we know that Jim and co. did a bunch of recasking when they took over. We also know they like to play mad scientist in their restless pursuit of new ways to integrate whisky and wood. In the end…this is whisky born not by the hand of the current ‘Laddie team, but certainly concocted and modified to suit their purposes.
Nose: Concentrated grape and bold tangy wine (bordering on sour). A little floral…a little bittersweet berry. Fresh steeped tea. Sharp dried fruit and buckets of spice. I think (pretty sure) there’s a bit o’ sulphurous blasphemy tainting things a wee bit here. Not overbearing…not spoiling…just there. And to be completely honest, there is such an odd mishmash of wine-drenched weirdness going on here that I simply don’t know how to unknot it. I’m not saying it’s not good…it may just be a little confused.
Palate: Again…grape-y and wine-y. Pink citrus. Macerated berry. Hints of burnt match. Some lovely heat. Spiced barley.
Points added for creativity. Points deducted for an over-indulgence of wine and a lack of coherency.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt