Amazingly, this is my 100th post on The Whisky Moose and throughout the past 99 entries, I've sampled some incredible drams. Can this latest duo of Bruichladdichs make their mark? Pour a glass, settle back and then we'll begin...
Bruichladdich 22 - 46%
This took a wee bit of time to open up, but my patience was rewarded with some amazing aromas rising from the glass. There was thick, oaky honey, blackberries, strawberries, blackcurrant jam, salted peanuts, sugar-glazed donuts, dried banana chips and something like the smell from the inside of a well used pencil case.
The palate was packed with salty syrup, jammy fruit, mint leaves, black coffee, orange oil, lemon curd and white grapes.
The finish was dry and packed with marzipan, lemon, rich dark fruit, walnuts, oaky caramel and black tea. Wonderful stuff all round.
Bruichladdich 23-year-old 1990 Black Art 04.1 - 49.2%
Now, it has to be said that I have tried this once before and didn't really get on with it. That said, that was at a whisky festival after several other drams, so I was prepared to dive in again to see if a second dip would change my mind.
The Black Art smelled amazing and I had my nose in the glass for a good 20 minutes before I took a sip. It's jam-packed with dark stewed fruit notes such as ripe, juicy plums, blackcurrants, baked apples and dates. As if that wasn't enough, there was also damson jam, sweet vanilla, fruit cake, malt loaf, a sprinkling of salt, a spoonful of cough medicine and sweet pipe tobacco. Wow.
Taking a sip and swirling it around was a taste sensation, with loads of treacle toffee, intense stewed fruit, thick orange oil, tobacco, espresso and creme brulee.
So far so good, but the finish let the whole thing down for me. While it was dry and spicy with chocolate cake and cigars, the wine cask influence just left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
This wasn't exactly headline news, as I just can't get to grips with whisky which has spent time in wine or port casks - despite liking wine and port. Every one I've tried, I have disliked and sadly, the Black Art was no different.
I said a while back after the Newcastle whisky festival that I would be avoiding them in the future, but I had heard such good things about this whisky that I just had to give it another shot. It just doesn't suit my palate and, for my own good, my days of dabbling in the black arts is now at an end.