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Tuesday 15 November 2022



In this hustling world of today, I can't think of anything more satisfying than pouring a glass of quality whisky after a long and endlessly tiring day. Whether you like Speyside or Islay or other whiskies, just relax and enjoy all the different types of whisky. I’m partial to Scotch whisky. Noted celebrities, whether writers, actors or philosophers, all have enjoyed this glorious libation and praised it glowingly. I’ve put together a list of some witty, romantic and sensible attributes they have stressed re our beloved tipple. Here are some: 

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisky is barely enough.” – Mark Twain

“Never cry over spilt milk. It could’ve been whisky.” – Maverick

“I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whisky in the other.” – Ava Gardner

“What whisky will not cure, there is no cure for.” – Irish proverb

“Always carry a flagon of whisky in case of snakebite, and furthermore, always carry a small snake.” – W.C. Fields

“There is no bad whisky. There are only some whiskies that aren’t as good as others.” – Raymond Chandler

“I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.” – Humphrey Bogart

“Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” – Johnny Carson

Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol. Steve Martin

Whoever said laughter is the best medicine had clearly never tasted scotch.” ~ Anne Taintor

One good thing about rain in Scotland. Most of it ends up as scotch.” ~ Peter Alliss

Give me a scotch, I’m starving.” ~ Robert Downey, Jr.

Scotch needs water like a fish needs a bicycle.” ~ W. C. Fields

There are two things a Highlander likes naked, and the other one is Malt Whisky” ~ R. H. Bruce Lockhart

“Hey, single malt scotch, youre thirty years old. When are you going to settle down and get married to my stomach?” ~ Stephen Colbert

"My favourite drink: scotch and sofa"-Noel Moitra

No married man is genuinely happy if he has to drink worse whisky than he used to drink when he was single.” ~ H. L. Mencken

Headache? Have two pegs of scotch. Add an aspirin, if you so wish. Noel Moitra

“Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whisky makes it go round twice as fast.” – Compton MacKenzie

“My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.” – William Faulkner

“It is true that whisky improves with age. The older I get, the more I like it.” – Robert Black

“Courage is a vitamin best swallowed with whisky.” – Jarod Kintz

Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”Mark Twain

“Give an Irishman lager for a month, and he’s a dead man. An Irishman is lined with copper, and the beer corrodes it. But whisky polishes the copper and is the saving of him.”

“My favourite drink is a cocktail of carrot juice and whisky. I am always drunk but I can see for miles.” – Roy 'Chubby' Brown

“Whisky making is an act of cooperation between the blessings of nature and the wisdom of man.” – Masataka Taketsuru

 “When life hands you lemons, make whisky sours.” – W. C. Fields

“When asked for my hangover cure, I take the juice of two bottles of whisky.” – Dean Martin

“Whisky is by far the most popular of all remedies that won't cure a cold.” – Jerry Vale

“While I can't walk on water, I can certainly wobble on whisky.” – Ashwin Sanghi

“The second whisky is always my favourite. From the third on, it no longer has any taste. It's just something to pour into your stomach.” – Haruki Murakami

“Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whisky.” E Hemingway

“I like my whisky old and my women young.”Errol Flynn

My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.” W Faulkner

“Seen through the gold of old Scotch, life seems more beautiful.” Pierre Souvestre

“I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch. Most people would rather hear me drink Scotch.” George Burns

“Ninety per cent I’ll spend on good times, women, and Irish Whiskey. The other ten per cent I’ll probably waste.” Tug McGraw

“Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, ‘I’m thirsty, not dirty.’”Joe E. Lewis

“You can’t find the answers on the bottom of a whisky glass, but if you look hard enough you’ll forget the questions.” George Patterson

“I now drink healthy… Scotch and carrot juice. You get drunk as hell but you can still see good.” Dean Martin

“What contemptible scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch?” W. C. Stone

“My family was a bunch of drunks. When I was six I came up missing, they put my picture on a bottle of Scotch.” Rodney Dangerfield

 “While I can’t walk on water, I can certainly wobble on whisky.” Ashwin Sanghi

“Whisky has killed more men than bullets, but most men would rather be full of whisky than bullets.” Logan Pearsall Smith

“You know what southern women are? Whisky in a teacup. We’re strong in the inside, but ornate on the outside.” Hannah Brown

“You can die from drinking too much of anything – coffee, water, milk, soft drinks and all such stuff as that. And so long as the presence of death lurks with anyone who goes through the simple act of swallowing, I will make mine whisky.” W.C. Fields

“My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.” William Faulkner

“The true pioneer of civilisation is not the newspaper, not religion, not the railroad — but whisky!”

“I always take Scotch whisky at night as a preventive of toothache. I have never had toothache; and what is more, I never intend to have it.”

“Whisky is carried into committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues.” Mark Twain

“The best thing for a case of nerves is a case of Scotch.”

“A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.” WC Fields

“My idea of working out is drinking whisky instead of beer.” Travis Fimmel

“Civilisation begins with distillation.” William Faulkner

“A drunkard is like a whisky bottle, all neck and belly and no head.” Austin O’Malley

“A good gulp of hot whisky at bedtime may not be very scientific, but it helps.” Alexander Fleming

“They say some of my stars drink whisky, but I have found that ones who drink milkshakes don’t win many ball games.” Casey Stengel

“Today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky.” Scottish proverb

“What whisky will not cure, there is no cure for.” Irish proverb

“Always drink your whisky with your gun hand, to show your friendly intentions.” Bill Hickok

“Whisky, when you’re sick, makes you well.” Irish proverb

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if the women don’t get you then the whisky must.” Carl Sandburg

“No married man is genuinely happy if he has to drink worse whisky than he used to drink when he was single.” H. L. Mencken

“You can handle just about anything that comes at you out on the road with a believable grin, common sense and whisky.” Bill Murray

“Drink whisky with the owls at night to soar with the eagles the next day.” Noel Moitra

“I would have preferred whisky. There’s nothing like its bold flavour and strong nose to remind you that you’re alive.” Melanie A. Smith

“I like girls who drink whisky and tell good stories.” Atticus, Canadian poet

“Whisky girls are the good kind of bad news.” Conny Cernik

“Whisky making is an act of cooperation between the blessings of nature and the wisdom of man.” Masataka Taketsuru

“Courage is a vitamin best swallowed with whisky.” Jarod Kintz

“Whisky toasts, boasts and cheers.” Noel Moitra

“Here’s to the best key for unlocking friendship—whisky.”

“Here’s to whisky, good old scotch,
Amber, smooth, and clear;
It’s not as sweet as a woman’s lips,
But a damn sight more sincere.” Anonymous

“The light music of whisky falling into glasses made an agreeable interlude.” James Joyce, Dubliners

“I drank whisky because I was depressed, and whisky made sure I stayed depressed.” Donald Hall

Giving money and power to the government is like giving whisky and car keys to teenage boys. P. J. O'Rourke

As they say in Texas, if you can't drink their whisky, screw their women, take their money, and vote against 'em anyway, you don't belong in office. Molly Ivins

Drown in a cold vat of whisky? Death, where is thy sting? W. C. Fields

Do you understand water in the West? Whisky's for drinking; water's for fightin' over. Paul Gosar

It’s always happy hour when you have a glass of whisky.

Go on an adventure with just a glass of whisky.

A whisky in hand makes one feel like the most powerful person in the room.

Cheers to the troubles that a glass of whisky can help us forget.

To some, it’s simply a glass of whisky. To me, it’s a taste of heaven.

Whisky soothes the soul.

You don’t really need a reason to pour yourself a glass of whisky.

Momentous occasion calls for whisky.

Whisky is key in making a night feel like a party.

Whisky is life’s treasure.

I have a love affair with whisky.

Is it really a party if the whisky isn’t out yet?

An old-fashioned whisky never gets old.

Wish you were whisky, coz whisky makes everybody happy.

“Keep your head cool and your feet warm,
And a glass of good whisky will do you no harm.” Anonymous

“To the rough and the smooth, to drinking with prudes,
  to loosen their thighs, with whisky and rye!”

“Here’s to steak when you’re hungry,
whisky when you’re dry,
all the girls you ever want,
and heaven when you die.”

“Son, when I was your age there was no social media. You had to go to a bar and buy endless drinks to be ignored by multiple women.”

“Dear Scotch, We had a deal where you would make me funnier, smarter, and a better dancer… I saw the video… we need to talk.”

“Hey bartender, I need a Scotch. I’ve got way too much blood in my alcohol system.”

Me: “I love you.”
You: "Is that you or the whisky talking?
Me: “It’s me talking to the wine.”

“How do you know if someone likes Single Malt? Don’t worry they’ll tell you.” Noel Moitra

“One cigarette shortens your life by two hours, one bottle of Scotch by three hours, and a workday – eight hours.”

I’m giving up drinking until Christmas!
Oops! Bad punctuation.
I’m giving up, drinking until Christmas!

“An epidemiologist, a scientist and a doctor walk into a bar…Just kidding, they know better.”

“I just read an article about the dangers of drinking that scared the crap out of me. That’s it. No more reading!”

“I feel sorry for wild animals because it’s like they’re always camping without beer.”

“A camel can work 10 days without drinking, I can drink 10 days without working.”

“Scotch is a perfect solvent: It dissolves marriages, families and careers.”


Thursday 10 November 2022


 Highland Park Valhalla Collection


Highland Park’s location as the northernmost distillery in Scotland on windswept Orkney opens it up to the harshest weather conditions for distilling whisky.  This Island distillery proudly underscores its north-of-the-law heritage with Nordic branding and continuing reminders of its illicit past.

Highland Park’s Norse-inspired Valhalla Collection comprises four expressions named after Nordic gods: Thor, Loki, Freya and Odin. The creators attempted to reflect the characterisations of each Norse god in the whisky’s appearance and flavour, from the “fresh, golden and seductive” Freya – the Goddess of Love – to the “intense, powerful and complex” flavours of Odin.

Highland Park, one of only two distilleries in the Orkney Isles, is Scotland's most northerly whisky distillery. It was founded in 1798 by Magnus Euson. Until it was licensed in 1825 its production was illicit and Euson was assisted in evading the excisemen by a kinsman who was a Kirk elder and hid the contraband under the pulpit. By the 1880s, Highland Park had an established reputation and at one time both the King of Denmark and the Emperor of Russia declared it to be the finest whisky they had ever tasted.

Highland Park’s location as the northernmost distillery in Scotland on windswept Orkney opens it up to the harshest weather conditions for distilling whisky.  This Island distillery proudly underscores its north-of-the-law heritage with Nordic branding and continuing reminders of its illicit past.

Highland Park is one of the few distilleries to carry on the tradition of floor malting, a labour-intensive process where barley is spread across a floor and regularly hand-turned for even germination before being kilned with Orkney peat, a famously heathery peat saturated by eons of salt spray. Only about 20% of the malt used to make Highland Park’s whisky is floor malted; the remainder is unpeated and sourced from other suppliers. Most expressions, including Highland Park 12, are aged primarily in Sherry seasoned butts, puncheons and hogsheads made from Spanish and American oak.

The first distillery bottling was in 1979 as a 43% ABV 12 YO, the locus of a core range of Viking names. This became the 40% ABV Viking Honour in 2017, but not part of the Valhalla Range.


16-Year-Old Valhalla Collection  
Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Distillery Bottling, 70cl / 52.1% ABV

The beginning of a new range of four whiskies from Highland Park, The Valhalla Collection, showing off Orkney's ancient links with Scandinavia and the distillery's love of history. First up is Thor, God of Thunder and alleged architect of the Cliffs of Yesnaby on the west coast of Orkney Mainland. It's a 16-year-old whisky at 52.1% ABV and presented in a wooden frame styled after the prow of a Viking longboat.

A limited release of 23,000 bottles on 30 January 2012, Thor, a 16-year-old single malt, was the first release in Highland Park’s 'Valhalla Collection', consisting of four variants to be released annually, each named after Nordic gods.

Billed as “the whisky of the gods, " the last black box scroll said, “Celebrate Thors’ day with the compliments of the gods”. This stunning 16-year-old single malt is believed to be the first ever explicitly designed around an individual god’s character.”

Increasingly hard to find, this 16 Year Old edition delivers powerful smoky notes reminiscent of Thor’s Hammer smashing against the Orkney Mountains of Hoy, carving the great wall of stone. The underlying sweet notes are inspired by Thor's inner strength and show that beyond his exterior warrior façade, there is still the caring, humble god that makes him a much-loved legend.

The Second Release Of The Valhalla Collection

One of Norse Mythology's Most Treacherous & Mischievous Characters

15-Year-Old Valhalla Collection  

Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Distillery Bottling, 70cl / 48.7% ABV         

Loki is one of the most complex characters in Norse mythology, regularly positioned as a trickster and often engaged in treachery and mischief. Highland Park Single Malt Scotch has released a whisky that bottles the characteristics of Loki while still celebrating the unique Highland Park house style.

According to some sources, Loki is the son of Fárbauti (a jötunn) and Laufey (mentioned as a goddess), and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. Loki is married to Sigyn and they have two sons, Narfi and Nari or Váli. By the jötunn Angrboða, Loki is the father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. In the form of a mare, Loki was impregnated by the stallion Svaðilfari and gave birth to the eight-legged horse Sleipnir.

Loki's relationship with the gods varies by source; he sometimes assists the gods and sometimes behaves maliciously towards them. Loki is a shape shifter and in separate incidents appears in the form of a salmon, a mare, a fly, and possibly an elderly woman named Þökk. Loki's positive relations with the gods end with his role in engineering the death of the god Baldr, and eventually, Odin's specially engendered son Váli binds Loki with the entrails of one of his sons, placing a serpent above him while he is bound.

The serpent drips venom from above him and causes Loki to writhe in pain, thereby setting off earthquakes. With the onset of Ragnarök, Loki slips free from his bonds and fights against the gods among the forces of the jötnar, at which time he encounters the god Heimdallr, and the two slay each other. A rather convoluted story, our trickster Loki.

When word started trickling down the pipeline that these releases were imminent some of the historically bent, Norse god-hailing whisky nerds began salivating in anticipation. The prices would be steep, the whisky would be middle-aged and the outturn would be quite limited. A cask-strength HP packaged up in a mini Viking longship.

Gimmickry and price tag aside, Loki is a really good whisky. This one wears its 15 years well, seeming maybe even a little more mature than that, and what a palate here! Great late evening malt for nights when the wind is howling and the fire is roaring. In keeping with Loki’s antecedents, it's a whisky that changes between nose and palate, and shifts around in the glass.


NOSE: A spirited lift of dried bitter orange which quickly turns into lemon peels. Cardamom notes trick then tease the nose before an enticing hit of gingerbread develops. With water, liquorice and aromatic smoke are both unleashed.

PALATE: The true shape-shifting ability of Loki springs to life on the palate: its waxy texture is amplified by an intense smoke that doesn't appear on the nose, shattering the light citrusy illusion of the aroma. All is not what it seems. The smoke fades as liquorice and rich spiced apple flavours come out to play. Lemon and grapefruit are consistent throughout this elusive, yet intriguing character. With a touch of water, lingering notes of melted dark chocolate over spent embers leave a soft smoky impression.

FINISH: As Loki departs, he leaves behind toasted cloves, hickory smoke and soft vanilla. It is constantly changing, from appearance to finish. Loki is an enigma and truly another whisky of the gods. As is the price, £600.


Freyja, Old Norse for Lady, most renowned of the Norse goddesses, was the sister and female counterpart of Freyr, the ruler of peace and fertility, rain, and sunshine was in charge of love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, death and seiðr (magic for seeing and influencing the future). Her father was Njörd, the sea god. Pigs were sacred to her, and she rode a boar with golden bristles. A chariot drawn by cats was another of her vehicles. It was Freya’s privilege to choose one-half of the heroes slain in battle for her great hall in the Fólkvangar (the god Odin took the other half to Valhalla).

She possessed a famous necklace called Brísinga men, which the trickster god Loki stole and Heimdall, the gods’ watchman, recovered. Greedy and lascivious, Freya was also credited with the evil act of teaching witchcraft to the Aesir (a tribe of gods). Like the Egyptian goddess Isis and the Greek Aphrodite, Freya travelled through the world seeking a lost husband and weeping tears of gold.

Various plants in Scandinavia once bore her name, but it was replaced with the name of the Virgin Mary during the process of Christianisation. Rural Scandinavians continued to acknowledge Freyja as a supernatural figure into the 19th century, and Freyja has inspired various works of art. Highland Park obviously took the naming seriously, delivering a golden-hued dram with a luscious palate and lovely, complex flavour profile. But don’t sell this goddess short… at 51.2% ABV, it’s a powerful dram.


Brand        Highland Park Single Malt
Bottler      Distillery Bottling
Country    Scotland
Region      Island
Size           70cl
Strength   51.2% ABV
Age           15 Years Old


The fourth Release Of The Valhalla Collection

16-Year-Old Valhalla Collection  
Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Distillery Bottling, 75cl / 55.8% ABV
Year of Release 2015 

Highland Park’s Odin is the fourth and final single malt Scotch whisky in its Norse-inspired Valhalla Collection. The 16-year-old expression follows the releases of Thor, Loki and Freya, and is named after the All-father of the gods and ruler of Asgard.

Odin is a widely revered god in Germanic paganism. Norse mythology, the source of most surviving information about him, associates him with wisdom, healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, war, battle, victory, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and depicts him as the husband of the goddess Frigg. According to legend, Odin is the strongest of all the Norse gods, driven by an ‘insatiable thirst for wisdom’, and lost an eye for a drink from the Well of Wisdom in order to gain “immeasurable knowledge and insight”. Odin is also associated with the divine battlefield maidens, the Valkyries, and he oversees Valhalla, where he receives half of those who die in battle.

This limited edition whisky with only 17,000 bottles released globally was presented in a dramatic black ‘battle worn’ bottle and black Viking long ship-inspired wooden frame that is a signature to the complete series. It was 16 years old, 55.8% ABV, and for those lucky enough to have managed to pick up a bottle, it was available at a recommended retail price of £180. The whisky itself was aged in 250-litre hogsheads previously holding sherry; starting with refill casks and then transferred to fresh first-fill casks for a final four years.

Odin, like its namesake, is an intense, powerful and complex whisky. It certainly lives up to the legend, a bold single malt higher in strength than Thor, Loki and Freya. In Odin, Highland Park has been able to add the final flourish to the Valhalla Collection, a stunning series of remarkable whiskies that offer affordability and exclusive collectability.


Now that Odin has joined the ranks of the other gods in the Valhalla Collection, the first chapter in this series is complete. However, the Norse legends of old may still offer them and us future intrigues.


From a combination of first-fill sherry casks and refill hogsheads, all this Norse info tends to leave the humanoids rather cold, but after all, it’s the bottle's content that counts.

Colour: deep gold.

Nose: The sherry feels, and comes with some raisins soaked in kirsch as well as touches of gunpowder and nutmeg. Then we find more eau-de-vie-soaked cake (fruitcake with dates and figs), charcoal, burning pipe, struck matches and strong mead, with a fermentary side. It’s a little rough, perhaps, and may lack a bit of the luscious complexity of older sherried Highland Parks. With water: some kind of smoked stout, smoky mustard, walnuts… A wee feintiness, perhaps, but after ten minutes, more biscuits do emerge and it rather gets rounder.

Palate (neat): rather hot and spicy. Cumin, pepper, bitter oranges, raisins, slivovitz, ginger. A sticky-toffee note is enveloped by an intense wallop of peat. An undercurrent of Sherry and gingerbread sweetness runs underneath the smoke, entwining into a mesquite-like smoky-sweet and spicy finish. Rather gritty, with a slightly acrid smokiness. With water: the spices keep singing (nutmeg, caraway, ginger) and suggest some active oak’s been used. Smoky walnuts and more bitter oranges. Ginger liqueur.

Finish: rather long, peppery, slightly salty/smoky. Bitter oranges again in the aftertaste. Comments: very fine, rather powerful and fairly ‘polished’. The oak’s spices are a tad loud, like Odin’s personality.


Friday 4 November 2022



The year 1994 was the end of the line for the old Bruichladdich. The distillery was mothballed that black year due to a lack of demand for single malts that seems almost inconceivable today. Bruichladdich wouldn’t reopen until 2001 when Jim McEwan & Co. modernised the brand and started making the “Laddie” beloved by today’s Scotch enthusiasts. Adam Hannett, McEwan's successor, continues in the same mould.

For a distillery that prides itself on transparency and traceability, it’s almost strange that one of its flagship expressions is shrouded in mystery. But for a distillery as open as Bruichladdich, I don’t mind cutting them some slack. I’m talking about the Bruichladdich Black Art Series, now in its tenth edition.

The first-ever Black Art was released in 2009 and from there the legend of the series was built. I’m personally not extremely familiar with the range, but I’ve generally enjoyed the editions I’ve tried, such as the Black Art 7.1 from a couple of years ago. However, I’ve seen some complaining online that the quality of the Black Art bottlings has dipped ever since current Head Distiller Adam Hannett took over from Islay legend Jim McEwan. Give such loose talk a miss.

Seeing as I’ve never tried any of them head-to-head and it has been ages since I’ve tasted one of the first four editions created by Jim McEwan, I can’t attest to that. And while I know not to put too much stock into the ratings on Whiskybase, they certainly don’t seem to corroborate a perceived decline. On the contrary, one of the lesser-rated editions is the first Black Art. Usually, whisky drinkers tend to overvalue earlier releases, so that’s most surprising.


Black Art is an ongoing series of limited-edition releases from Bruichladdich—that much we know. Beyond that, and the ages of the whiskies, we don’t know a whole lot. And that’s how its master distillers (Jim McEwan, who was succeeded by Adam Hannett) wanted it. Nothing is revealed about how these whiskies were matured or in what kind of casks they were finished. What matters, they say, is how they taste. And this eighth edition of Black Art tastes delicious.

Black Art 1994 straddles two eras of Bruichladdich. It was distilled and laid down the year the distillery ceased production, not to resume until 2001 when Jim McEwan made it the iconoclastic and groundbreaking distillery it remains today. While Black Art plays up the mystery of its cask-ageing, it doesn’t taste that mysterious. It’s certainly more restrained than the brand’s out-there offerings like Octomore and Port Charlotte. But all the same, it’s a beautifully executed whisky.

For a cask-strength expression, Edition 8.1 has a relatively low proof and is quite soft on the palate, as well. But it’s still quite flavourful, with ex-bourbon, sherry and possibly port or wine casks evident in the flavour profile. A whisky of this age and rarity (to say nothing of its price) is not meant for mixing, although it would likely make a lovely cocktail. Water and ice are also not necessary or recommended. It’s excellent as-is.

Black Art 8.1 is not what you might expect from an Islay whisky—it’s unpeated—or specifically, a Bruichladdich, as it’s relatively restrained. But taken on its own terms, it delivers and then some.

For whisky fans who may find more experimental Bruichladdich expressions like Bere Barley or Octomore a little too weird, Black Art is a single malt in the classic style. It is proof that Islay distilleries can do more than make peaty smoke bombs. This is an unpeated gem that will appeal to fans of Highland and Speyside malts.

Black Art plays up the mystery of its cask ageing, but it doesn’t taste too off-the-beaten-path, which may disappoint some followers who are expecting the unexpected. The price is quite high for a whisky of this age and quality, even in an era of skyrocketing prices for aged single malts.

PROOF: 79° (45.1% ABV) (PROOF USA: 90.2)
MSRP: $450

Tasting Notes

Colour: Medium copper—many scotches contain caramel colouring to darken their hue, but Bruichladdich is not among them. The colour here comes straight from the cask.

Nose: It’s rich and fruity on the first whiff. Is it a wine-cask finish? But then a maritime salinity comes in which must be from sherry cask ageing, right? The distillery isn’t saying.

Palate: A rich, rounded fruitiness reminiscent of port casks evolves into a dry, nutty salinity with candied-orange overtones. Vanilla and caramel indicate time in ex-bourbon casks, but there’s definitely a pronounced sherry presence here. Exactly how much, of course, is known only to Bruichladdich’s master distiller, and he’s not telling.

Finish: It’s very long, dry and somewhat oaky, but surprisingly gentle considering it’s spent more than a quarter-century in wood.

For a brand known for delivering way-out whiskies, Black Art 8.1 is quite reserved and gentle—and expensive. As some of the last whisky distilled before the distillery was closed for several years and then sold, it’s historically significant. It’s also an excellent aged single malt, helping to justify the cost.


In an era when efficiency was promoted over quality, this distillery was considered irredeemably old-fashioned. The single malt produced before closure in 1994 now equates to less than 1% of all the ‘pre-renaissance’ whisky still maturing in their warehouses. Their oldest spirits have become some of our rarest and most treasured. Ensuring the eloquent work of our predecessors is given the closest attention, this finite 1992 vintage has been nurtured on its 29-year journey from cask to cask by Head Distillery, Adam Hannett. Matured in unrivalled quality oak, this unpeated spirit’s recipe is held in absolute secret – as is customary with every Black Art edition before it. What one does know about the 9th edition is that their most alchemic single malt is the oldest ever. This is the quintessential Black Art: Edition 09.1.

All the single malts used to create this Black Art were distilled in or before 1992, which means it dates back to before the distillery closed in 1994. And that is quite special because Bruichladdich has even less than 1per cent left of this older stock.  


PROOF: 77.1° USA PROOF 88.2%  44.1% ABV
MSRP: $1050


COLOUR - Russet.

NOSE - Simply stunning. Tropical fruit, coconut, tobacco, oak spices and toasted pine needles weave an intricate web of aromas. With a bit of time, this beautiful whisky opens up to waves of mango, honey-drizzled melon, warm orange zest, grilled pineapple and ripe summer strawberries. It’s mouth-wateringly succulent and fruity - the gentle oak offering coconut, ginger, buttery shortbread, vanilla custard and hints of tobacco.

PALATE - The viscosity and depth of this dram are out of this world; the oak notes of tobacco and brown sugar, chocolate and coconut provide the base for all those wonderful fruit combinations to shine. A drop of water and a second sip further explores the woven layers of this remarkable whisky.

FINISH - The succulent fruit sweetness lasts for an age on the palate, apricot, mango and baked banana, toasted sweet oak, honey and vanilla – you just don’t want it to end.

CHARACTER - With this edition of Black Art, inspiration was taken from the groundwork done in creating the first editions of this series, where there was a relentless pursuit to layer flavour. This whisky would rest in some of the finest casks, adding a delicate layer of fruit before it was moved on again. Carefully waiting, watching and tasting, looking to chart new directions with each new cask used until finally arriving at a point of perfection.

Not a shy whisky by any means. But an explosion of flavours, which work really well together. It’s a very good and complex single malt that is nicely layered and balanced. Really well done.


The tenth edition of this limited edition series, Black Art Edition 10 encapsulates the enigmatic alchemy of whisky making; with a reliance on nature, craftsmanship and the passing of time. The barley and cask types remain a mystery, with the final recipe undisclosed.


Whisky making is an ancient art, one that has intrigued and captivated for centuries. Black Art 10 is a testament to this elusive mastery.

Pulling exclusively from Bruichladdich Distillery pre-renaissance casks which have been patiently maturing on our island home for almost three decades, this finite single malt is secretly created by their Head Distiller, Adam Hannett. What happens inside each cask, under the darkness of the warehouse, remains a mystery.

With their full trust, Adam is given complete creative freedom to create this incredible whisky. With no rules and no restrictions, Black Art Edition 10.1 is unique and unrepeatable. A chance to experiment and push the boundaries of possibility, only Adam knows what has gone into crafting the precious 29-year-old single malt.

Unpeated and matured in the finest quality oak, this tenth edition of Black Art is a captivating marriage of faith and ingenuity.

The new Bruichladdich Black Art 10.1 are casks from 1993 before the distillery was temporarily closed. The Black Art is bottled in natural colour and at cask strength without chill filtration. Bruichladdich Black Art 10.1 offers an alcohol strength of 45.1% ABV and is available online at the distillery shop and also at spirits specialist shops.

Made with creative freedom, Bruichladdich has been releasing the Black Art bottlings for 10 years now. It is the sixth edition of the Black Art that Adam Hannett, Head Distiller at Bruichladdich Distillery, has created.

He says: "The creative freedom I have when creating this single malt is a privilege. It allows me to take risks and explore the realms of possibility. Whisky making relies on the harmonious marriage between cask and spirit, and Black Art 10 is a celebration of the extraordinary things that can happen when we abandon the detail and simply appreciate and enjoy the flavour.”


CHARACTER: Depth, complexity, knowledge and balance. The confidence and intuition used to guide this spirit is handed from one generation of distillers to the next. The choices made through years of maturation with casks of unrivalled provenance uniquely shape each expression of Black Art, never to be repeated.

COLOUR: Mahogany

NOSE: Warm and inviting, a bright fruity note welcomes you. The fragrant toasted oak brings chocolate praline, cedar, leather and subtle hints of clove and nutmeg, before moving to fruit notes of sweet apricot jam, ripe melon, dark cherries and blackcurrants. There is a light touch of citrus with lemon zest and gooseberries dipped in honey, with delicate floral notes of geranium and honeysuckle balanced with a hint of iodine and leather.

PALATE: Orange barley sugars, ginger nut biscuits and lemon meringue pie are followed by sweet apricot jam and marzipan. The toasted oak brings smooth chocolate and vanilla notes, beautifully complemented with syrupy fruit, raisins, plum and melon. Over time, iodine and a hint of coconut come through, with delicate oak spices of warming ginger and cinnamon. A velvet texture, the depth and balance of this single malt glides across the palate.

FINISH: Tablet and smooth fudge bring a softness to the finish, while ripe soft fruits, subtle tobacco and a hint of ginger linger.

PROOF: 78.5°; USA PROOF 90.2% 45.1% ABV
MSRP: $450



What's The Story Behind How The Black Art Concept Started?

The Black Art concept was very much Jim McEwan’s. It was a vehicle for him, starting from ambition and the ability/freedom to explore the wood, to revel in the blending and the role of the cask in making whisky. Jim is a whisky legend who started out as a cooper. Even though he had been running distilleries and involved in everything, one of his great loves was maturation.

When he started at Bruichladdich Distillery, they were going into new territory with sourcing casks. They had the freedom and ability to start buying casks from some of the great chateaux in Bordeaux and around the world, using flavours and casks that hadn’t been used before.  The quality of the oak that was being used was absolutely phenomenal.

French oak is very different to American oak, which was 99.9% of what was used in the whisky industry then. Exploration and challenges have deep roots in the origins of the distillery and the origins of Black Art.  It was about trying new things and seeing where the flavour was going.

In my role, I know that when you take some Bruichladdich spirit that’s been maturing in a refill bourbon hogshead with a classic flavour, then you put it into a red wine with amazing French oak behind it, you start picking up all these amazing fruity, charry notes from the wine. Then this lovely structure and quality of the oak come through to help shape that spirit… You get something completely different! It’s a new lens of flavour. So many new things develop that you completely turn away from the previous maturation profile.

When Jim was blending these casks, he would transfer the whiskies into certain casks and keep adding, making all these layers of flavour, things people hadn’t tasted before. There was this creative storm going on, bringing all these flavours all together.

That was the concept of Black Art. The name idea came to him because somebody asked the question ‘Jim, what are you doing?’ ‘Can’t tell you, completely secret – just trust me’.

As a project, Black Art has a lovely perpetuity to it: it was started before you by your predecessor, and the casks you lay down now will be handled by your successor - how does it feel to be part of this legacy?

So the craft, the secrecy, it was like an opportunity to try things that people hadn’t done before. The more we said, ‘We’re not going to tell you, this is just what we do! You don’t need to know; you just need to enjoy it…”, the more freedom we had to look at the layers of flavour you could get from hundreds of different cask types. The editions follow a sort of instinct through all those different options. They have a similar story, same DNA, but each one is an unrepeatable, unique whisky.

For me that goes wider than Black Art; that’s what distilling is!

That’s one of the great things you very quickly realise when you first walk into a warehouse and start moving barrels that have been laid there, with dates on from before you were born.

For the stock we are laying down today, I won’t be the person putting that into a bottle.

Something that Jim always used to say, and I think I have always been aware of, is that your job is to look after the distillery for the next generation. Leave it in a better place than where you found it.

I look back at Jim and Duncan (McGillivray)… When they brought Bruichladdich back to life, everything was about building it back up. I can see now that they put as much hard work in as they could so that when Allan (Logan) and I took over those roles, we were in a better position. I see our jobs as the same thing. It’s about growing Bruichladdich, building it and putting in foundations to pass on to the next generation.

We have interesting challenges just now (I say interesting, but they are scary…). Sustainability concerns, and climate change, mean it’s critical to our job now how we think differently and evolve. How will we leave this distillery in a better place for future generations?

I do see that with Black Art, but it's wider than Black Art. That’s what distilling is. It’s time travel I suppose.

The Project seems to be A Blessing And A Curse: it’s one where you have complete creative freedom, but there’s also a pressure to make something incredible every time. How do you overcome these pressures?

I suppose I don’t really see it as pressure. What you have got to remember is that we are not just looking at that one moment? It goes from the barley that’s grown, to the way the spirit’s distilled, to the cask that we fill, the cask that we blend and re-cask… At each part of the process, it's being monitored to ensure it’s at its best, at every single point. So when I go to blend that Black Art, I’m not worried about anything. We have put the work in so I know that when I start that blending process, I’m starting with excellence.

For Black Art, I may start looking at the recipe seven or eight years before it ends up in a bottle, it could be longer.

It’s not something to worry about, but a lovely thing is you don’t know what you will end up with. There is experience and knowledge there to guide you along the way and you know what you want to try and aim for but you don’t know how that spirit’s going to work out until it's finished. You have got to take risks – no one ever did anything great from repeating the same old, same old; it’s about trying new things. That’s the DNA that’s been instilled in me, to try new things - it maybe comes quite naturally to the distillery as its what we have always known.

That creative freedom – if you feel pressured by that then you are probably in the wrong job! It should be a pleasure to have that creative freedom, to try new things and see what happens; that’s the essence of Black Art.


Wednesday 2 November 2022



                            THE TRINITY CREATES A TREAT FOR THE SENSES

The evolution of Indian single malts is changing the way the world generally perceives Indian spirits. Moving away from a predominantly Scotch-loving culture, the Indian single malts are breaking barriers and building a reputation for Indian whiskies like never before. Factors such as premiumisation, a growing demand for authenticity and willingness to embrace global trends while celebrating local craftsmanship have influenced the growth of the Indian whisky industry.

The magic of the marriage of three different wood casks comes to its superb splendour when the locally grown malts are matured in ex-bourbon, ex-wine and ex-sherry casks. It embellishes the malt with the finest shade of amber, a whiff of caramelised pineapple, vanilla,  black tea, raisins & citrus and subtle nuttiness. The smoothness and velvety flavour linger long after the glass has been put aside.               Surinder Kumar, Master Blender, Piccadilly Distillery

The seed for the nectar of the gods was sown in the barren Thar Desert in Rajasthan, India. Many millennia have passed since barley bloomed in the inhospitable climate of that sandy western State bordering Pakistan. In the uncompromising quest to create the finest spirits, the traditional Indian six-row barley, which is cultivated using old indigenous practices that rely on organic and sustainable methods, is used. The yields may be smaller but it lends a fruity and floral distinctive taste to the spirits.

ABOUT THE GRAIN: Learning from the forefathers of Malt, the owners take pride in maintaining authenticity to the original recipes and processes of making Single Malt. However, their passion for the process does not let them stop there. At Indri, they believe that the process of making Single Malt is one of recognising new nuances and layers in every step. And with that, they transcend the process with new permutations leading to refreshingly exquisite flavours of Single Malt each time. These little observations make headway for endless discoveries in the way our different Single Malt expressions come to be. An ever-giving process deliberated to experiment for an infinity of unique expressions to come!

FARMING: The story starts with Goda Ram, a barley farmer from Bundi, Rajasthan. In this arid region, farmers remain dependent on natural precipitation, including a timely and abundant monsoon. For the past four generations, Goda Ram’s ancestors and family have grown barley on a modest plot of land. After hand harvesting the crop using the six-row cultivated method, it is sent to expert maltsters at Soufflet and Barmalt who select the best quality.

GERMINATION: Only the finest-quality barley is steeped in water and spread out onto malting floors to germinate. To prevent heat from building up during the germination process, the barley is turned regularly to activate enzymes that will help convert starch into sugar during the mashing process. After about a week of germinating, the barley–now called green malt–goes to the kiln to dry. This halts the germination process. During the roasting process, heat is maintained below 70 degrees C to keep the enzymes active. Peat is added to the fire to impart a smoky flavour.

MASHING: The dried malt is then ground into a course flour called grist. The grist is mixed with hot water in the mash turn in three stages, with temperatures starting at 67 degrees C and rising close to boiling point. Stirring the malt helps convert the starches into sugar. After mashing, the sweet, sugary liquid that results is called wort. The spent drains–known as the draff–are processed into cattle feed.

FERMENTATION: To begin the fermentation process, the wort is cooled to 20 degrees C and pumped into washbacks. Yeast is added, which feeds on the sugars, producing alcohol and small quantities of other compounds known as congeners. During this process, carbon dioxide is produced and the wash froths vigorously. To prevent overflowing, revolving switchers cut the heat of the liquid. After two days, the fermentation subsides. At this point, the wash is about 6-8% alcohol.

DISTILLATION: The shape of the pot has a mysterious, but important influence on the making of malt whisky. In the distillation process, the still is heated to below the boiling point of water as the alcohol and other compounds vaporise and pass over the neck. The distillation passes through a large copper coil immersed in cold running water, where the vapour is condensed into a liquid.

The wash is distilled twice: in the first stage, it is done to separate the alcohol from the water, yeast, and residue. Part of this formulation is also saved for use in animal feeds. The distillate from the wash still, known as low wines, contains about 20% alcohol by volume. This is used for the second distillation. The more volatile compounds and the final runnings called feints (where more oily compounds are vaporised) are both channelled for redistillation when mixed with the low wines in the next batch. Only the pure centre cut, or the heart of the run, which is about 68% alcohol by volume is finally collected in the spirit receiver.

MATURATION: The Stillman tests and judges the distillates. The newly distilled, colourless and fiery spirit is reduced to maturing strength, 63% alcohol by volume. It is then transferred into oak casks which may have previously contained wine, bourbon, or sherry. The maturation process begins, and the whiskey becomes smoother, gains flavour, and colour from the cask. During this phase, some of the higher alcohols turn into esters and other complex compounds, which subtly enhance the whisky’s unique flavour.

BLENDING: Blending is a delicate art. The master blender begins by nosing samples in tulip-shaped glasses at 20% ABV and then carefully selects from a wide palate of ex-bourbon first fill, virgin oak, ex wine and sherry casks. Different malts, both peated and non-peated, are considered in combination and are then left to proverbially marry in casks. Once their union is smooth and natural, the process of bottling begins. This is the final step in the process of making this whisky, which is one of the best single malt blends in India.

DISTILLERY: Piccadily Distillery is the largest independent manufacturer and seller of malt spirits in India. The distillery has six copper pot stills–three wash stills (25,000 ltr) and three spirit stills (15,000 ltr). Together they produce 12,000 litres of malt spirit daily and four million litres annually. The height of the wash stills is 9.7 metres and the spirit stills 5.7 metres. The wash stills resemble a lamp in shape while the spirit stills have an onion head in the cone area to increase the reflux, resulting in a light, floral, fragrant and fruity spirit. The oak barrels are imported from the USA and assembled, cared for, toasted, charred and repaired by expert in-house coopers.

The perception of India is changing globally. India and Indians are breaking boundaries on all fronts be it technology, business, sport or crafted high quality premium products. India was always known for its exquisite and outstanding quality and finer things for hundreds of years and India is getting its magic back and numerous Indians accomplishing milestones like never before. Indian whiskies are not far behind and is playing its part in the India story.