Each of Adam’s Black Arts has had, “their own different personality. They all have their different feelings or reasons for being.” For example, Black Art 5, his first, was made as he was emerging from Jim’s long shadow; it had been McEwan’s signature whisky. Adam describes, “A kind of pressure to share my own vision, and my own understanding or interpretation of the whisky that we had in the warehouses.” Black Art 6 was created after our stillman Hoppy passed away. Adam drew a few bottles for the graveyard, as is traditional in Islay, from a particular premium French wine cask filled in 1990 that Hoppy had admired when he and Adam had tried it together in the warehouse. From then on, there was real emotion behind that cask, a special significance, that Adam says he could only contemplate using in a special whisky.
His most recent, Black Art 8, was informed by his recent work with our Rare Casks, and an idea of a simple, a beautiful, identity of the spirit of Bruichladdich. Adam relates a formative experience, shortly after he had started working in our distillery shop as a teenager back in summer 2004. “One lovely sunny day, everyone was in the courtyard having a dram. I didn’t know a lot about whisky back then, but I remember getting to taste this 1970s Bruichladdich, and thinking, ‘That is a game changer. That is… That’s not whisky! That’s just beautiful, what is that?” The softness of the texture, the coconut from the Bourbon cask – not even a great cask – but that buttery golden style, the delicate floral notes, it was just beautiful. Still makes my mouth water just thinking about it now!”