Whisky Review – Tale of two old Bruichladdies – Black Art 4 and Carnival of Malt Valinch

Yesterday I posted my recollection of the world fastest distillery tour (™) at Bruichladdich and since it was the last tour on Islay, instead of the customary tasting notes of one dram, we’ll go for the double – two Bruichladdich tasting notes!

The first one is Bruichladdich Black Art 4th edition – I have a bottle of the Black Art 3 and love it a lot – the mix of wood with different and rich wine notes is very good (see my review of BA3 here)

The second one is a Bruichladdich Valnich expression, filled at the visitors center in the Distillery by visitors and this one is from a cask that previously held Rum.

Both whiskies are old and predates the resurrection of Bruichladdich by Mark Reynier. It’s very interesting to see what Jim McEwan magiked this time from the old casks with Black Art 4 and to taste the impact of the rum casks on the old Bruichladdich spirit.

Bruichladdich Black Art 4 – 1990 23 years(%49.2, £170)

bruichladdich-black-art-4-1-1990Nose: Some Bruichladdich trademarked Lactose/baby vomit note, some dry sweetness, dried fruits, some wine, dry old sherry feeling and weak peppery note hiding there as well, a rich dry elegant nose.

Palate: starts great with sweet sherry, some malty notes but then some metallic notes are showing up putting this a bit off.

Finish: Long finish starting with lactic and those metallic notes, oily. Only after a minute or so, they dissipate leaving us with a very good and fortified wine feeling which is very gentle and pleasant.

Bruichladdich Valinch – Carnival of Malt (52.5%, Vintage: 1992, 21yo)

bruichladdich-valinch-carnival-of-maltNose: Massive Rum impact – tropical fruits galore, bananas, pineapples, sweet demerara sugar, some vanilla, some hay/grass notes. very fresh and kicking. given some time in glass also lactic notes.

Palate: thick sweet sugary cereal again with lots of tropical fruits, some spices with white pepper, some sweet oak

Finish: Medium length. Sweet rum mixed tropical fruits with some low-level mild oak lacing it all like whipped cream.

Conclusion: It’s a matter of personal taste, but Black Art 4 disappointed me a bit. Don’t get me wrong – It’s not that it’s a bad whisky, it’s quite enjoyable, but I had higher expectations out of it following Black Art 3. On the other hand, the Carnival of Malt is delicious, vibrant and fresh dram bringing a lot of summer carnival atmosphere with sweetness and tropical fruits – Loved it a lot. So Bruichladdich – how about doing some permanent Rum finished whisky? It’s gonna be a hit!

(Thanks to Bruichladdich Distillery for the Black Art 4 sample and to the Whiskycorner.co.uk duo for the Carnival of Malt sample)


2 thoughts on “Whisky Review – Tale of two old Bruichladdies – Black Art 4 and Carnival of Malt Valinch

  1. nimrod

    The Carnival of Malt was the best old Bruichladdich I ever tried (if not the best overall).
    Didn’t like any of the 3 black art batches I’ve tried including this. Thanks for sharing!


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