Source: Flaviar

Behold, the LEGENDARY Bruichladdich 1990 Black Art Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Hailing from Islay, this is Bruichladdich’s 6th edition of their Black Art expression. When we think of Islay whiskies, we generally think of smoky, peaty whiskies.

To describe this expression with those words would not only be false but also a complete insult to the whisky, its makers and the distillery as a whole because it is so much more than your typical Islay whisky.

As a matter of fact, you’d probably be surprised to know that this particular expression, in addition to many other Bruichladdich whiskies, are famously un-peated.

Let’s just say that they really do things differently on West Islay.

The Distillery By The Shore Bank

Source: Whisky Foundation

Bruichladdich (pronounced ‘Brook-Laddie) which means ‘shore bank‘ in Gaelic, was established in 1881 by the Harvey brothers – William, John and Robert on the westernmost shore of Islay.

No strangers to the art of whisky-making, the Harvey family is actually a whisky dynasty of sorts having operated two previous distilleries in Glasgow since 1770, before establishing Bruichladdich.

The Bruichladdich Distillery in 1881 | Source: WhiskyGeeks

With their inheritance, the brothers pooled their wealth together to open a third distillery to be designed by John, engineered by Robert and financed by William (with help from other family members).

Unlike Islay’s older distilleries who typically built their base of operations from old farm buildings, the Bruichladdich distillery was made of stones taken from the sea shore of Loch Indaal around a large, spacious courtyard.

Two’s Company, Three’s A Crowd


With three up-and-running distilleries at their disposal, the Harvey brothers originally wanted to blend the various expressions produced by their three distilleries. Unfortunately, the brothers had a falling out which caused William to leave the family business.

This caused a major hiccup in regards to managing the Bruichladdich distillery as the remaining brothers owned distilleries but weren’t particularly knowledgable on whisky crafting nor where they actual distillers themselves.

Furthermore, this put the Bruichladdich distillery at a great disadvantage since only small amounts of Islay whisky were needed to craft a blended expression. At this point, the largest blenders within the region were already well-supplied with Islay whisky.

Nobody Wins When The Family Feuds

Source: MGM Studios

Fast forward to the year 1907, and production at the Bruichladdich distillery came to a complete stop. One of the three brothers – Robert, had passed much earlier in 1892 and things were looking very bleak for the struggling distillery.

William – who was a successful sugar broker by now, succeeded in obtaining Robert’s company shares after suing his own estate for outstanding payments. Even so, Bruichladdich had so much unsold inventory as well as substantial bank debts.

As a means of salvaging what little he could, William met a man in 1913 by the name of Mr. Robertson who represented Robertson & Baxter (brokers of wine and spirit) and bought over Bruichladdich’s entire whisky stockpile, albeit at a very cheap price.

Rising From The Ashes

Master Distiller Jim McEwan (left) & Simon Coughlin (right) | Source: The Drinks Business

Decades of switching ownership finally ended in 2001 when a group of private investors consisting of Mark Reynier and Simon Coughlin acquired Bruichladdich from Beam Inc. for the sum of £6.5 million.

Additionally, Mark also managed to snag Jim McEwan – a veteran distiller from Bowmore to come work for Bruichladdich. Miraculously, Jim was convinced and the distillery finally began distilling again on 11 September 2001.

With about 1.2million litres of whisky dating back to 1984 in their possession, the partners strategically targeted limited edition collectors which was primarily what they sold til’ they had enough money to refurbish the entire distllery.

*Today, Bruichladdich is owned by Remy Cointreau UK Limited.

Progressive Hebridean Distillers

Source: Bruichladdich

Staying true to the Harvey Brothers’ original vision for the company, Bruichladdich continues to produce some of Islay’s most unique whiskies and spirits. The man pictured above is Adam Hannett, the brains behind the exquisite Black Art line.

Unlike other Bruichladdich products, the process of crafting expressions from The Black Art line are shrouded in secrecy The only readily available information about this whisky is that it’s unpeated, non-chill filtered and that each selected cask was aged for 26 years.

Bruichladdich 1990 Black Art 6.1

DISCLAIMER: The price tag of this expression is not for the faint hearted.
*Click on the photo above to view on our shop page.

Bruichladdich Black Art 06.1 is the latest edition of the legendary enigmatic Black Art Series. As mentioned earlier, only Adam Hannett knows exactly what goes into this whisky. Moreover, this bottle is extremely rare as it was made in very limited amounts.

The privileged few who have tasted it have reported that it’s a dark coloured and jammy whisky with rich, deep and intense fruit balanced by spice, chocolate and the underlying sweetly fruity Bruichladdich character.

  • Aroma: Rich, black charred oak with blackberry jam, dark chocolate, raisin, plum, elderberry, apple.
  • Palate: The richness and vitality of the oak and the fruit is astounding. The soft orchard fruit of the spirit comes through after opening a little, and sits beautifully alongside fragrant vanilla custard.
  • Finish: Chocolate, apricot, pineapple, classic exotic fruits from well-aged Bruichladdich.

*If you consider yourself a connoisseur of rare whiskies but haven’t tried this, you might want to drop that title…

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