The 2022 Limited Release of Bruichladdich's coveted Black Art edition is here, and it's packing heat. Distilled before the distillery shutdown and re-opening, this 29 year old Single Malt expression is bottled at 45.1% ABV. While there is no word on what type of casks make up this release, it's listed as aged in oak casks, so it could be truly anything. The enigmatic inscription for this release reads: "The enigmatic arts of the distiller are shrouded by meager facts. There are dark secrets within and marking the passage of time alone bestows insufficient heft. Through these burdened hands great oak and steadfast principles pass. High art, complex and mysterious, is revealed only to those who see stars." Let's dive in.
Beautiful and rich, this syrupy pour is packed with dates, sweet oak and warm honey, apricots and a faint honey and pastry note. Super rich, packed with character and I'm amazed at the concentration on the honey and apricot note.
Medium to rich viscosity on the palate. Honey, fresh baked apple crisp, apricot once more. Rich honey, sweet butter cream, fresh baked bread, bold malt character. Light peppery backbone and a faint touch of bit of ash.
Long finish, it's complex and powerful and wraps together the sweet pastry notes, syrupy fruit and satisfying pepper and ash. While this expression is unpeated (as are all Black Art) just a touch of that Islay character rolls through and adds an extra, lovely, level of complexity.
Overall, this year's Black Art is an exercise in power and balance, with bold flavors and impressive strengths still playing greatly in balance with each other.