Bruichladdich Black Art 19 yo
Bruichladdich Black Art
A Single Malt Out of The Black Art of Alchemy
al-kimia was an ancient, mysterious and secretive Arabic philosophy. It involved the search for ultimate wisdom, immortality and using the water of life and philosopher’s stone.
Our own alchemist, Jim McEwan, was similarly tasked to use his own extensive skills to produce an ultimate nightcap dram; a brooding, complex and bewitching Bruichladdich. Using the 1989 vintage, the bottling was created from an exceptionally wide variety of cask types and oak origins, precisely what he won’t say. It’s his secret. And he ain’t telling.
The first documented account of the distillation of Al Kohl was written around 795 in Syria by Geber, the Arab alchemist, seeking to transform base metals in to gold. If the liquid could facilitate the change from corrupt metal to incorruptible gold, then it could surely also do the same for life, eternal life - it would be ‘the water of life’.
Whisky, the Gaelic water of life, it is often repeated, was brought to Scotland by Christian missionaries, as the first record,1494, is by a friar. But there could be another explanation.
Viking mercenaries, Varangians, invaded Syria about 40 years after Gerber’s discovery. It is conceivable, the right place at the right time, that they come across the black art. Using the great rivers that flow into the Black Sea, this knowledge and the raw ingredients, may have been shipped home to Scandinavia, then to the Hebrides, from about 850 onwards.
Tantalizingly, the Bere we have been propagating (thanks to Orkney Agricultural College) is traceable genetically to Norway. And Bere originated 8000 years ago in Mesopotamia.
The potential link continues: ‘trestarig’, an ancient hebridean word for triple-distilled whisky, may be of Norse & Arabic derivation: trost-arak. Literally three distillations. Arak, meaning ‘perspiration’ (the image of condensated spirit) is today the name of a colourless spirit drunk throughout the eastern Mediterranean and north Africa.
So who brought the black art to Scotland? Marauding, piratical hell-raisers or pious, celibate, monastic hermits. More Keith Richards than John the Baptist, if you ask me.
There are 6,000 bottles of our Black Art bottling.
FYI: The bottle do normaly not include the signature of Jim McEwan (That's an exclusive AWA bottling :-) "The silver signature seen on some of the pictures"