Range Review: Bushmills
Our take on the Bushmills range of Irish malts!
Bushmills Black Bush
A blend with a very high ratio of malted barley, aged in a roughly 70/30 split of sherry casks and ex-bourbon casks for a minimum of 8 years (although no age statement is declared on the bottle).
- Aroma: A real muesli of a whisky. Dried apple, honeyed baked oats. Banana, orange peel and sultanas.
- Taste: Honey and wood in equal measure. The wood presents as a blend of allspice and cinnamon and mixes well with the honey and fruits the nose promised.
- Body: A bit more body than the Original with a more pronounced weight in the mouth.
- Length: Finish is still a little short but enjoyable.
- Burn: None 😊
- Complexity: More going on here than the Original with more fruits alongside the malt - yummv.
- Expressiveness: Delightful – probably does not need much tweaking but would be keen to try at cask strength.
- Texture: Not oily but no dry either – sort of both and neither at the same time.
- Balance: A nice well rounded dram – excellent use of casks and grain mash bills.
- Aroma Enjoyment: Very inviting, nice fruity aromas.
- Taste Enjoyment: Warm and fruity and sweet – yum.
- Overall Enjoyment: Great bang for buck and drinks better than the price point would lead you to expect.
Find it here!
Bushmills 10 Year Old
A 100% single malt whiskey. Aged in barrels previously containing bourbon (seasoned), for a minimum of 10 years (age on a whisk(e)y bottle refers to the youngest whisk(e)y in the bottle).
- Aroma: Fresh lemon zest, buttered crumpets with fresh raspberry compote. A bit of banana and the acidity of a kiwi fruit.
- Taste: Nice oily mouthfeel with predominant flavours of honey, malt and lemon on the finish. Spice builds with repeated sips as does the tannin mouth drying feeling.
- Body: A little on thin side – could use a little meat on its bones.
- Length: Medium length – i.e. lets you know it was there but doesn’t stay as long as you would like.
- Burn: Initially a lit bit of bite but calms down after a bit of time or extra sips. Easy going from then on.
- Complexity: Probably the most spirit forward of the Bushmills – reasonably complex even with the small amount of cask influence.
- Expressiveness: Pleasing weight – carries itself well and delivers all of its flavours well.
- Texture: A little lighter/drier than I had hoped for. To be expected from a triple distilled spirit.
- Balance: The spirit and time in the cask have worked well to deliver a very rounded but simple dram.
- Aroma Enjoyment: Acidity and sweetness in equal measure work well together and entice one to sip.
- Palate Enjoyment: Simple but tasty – a good look into what Bushmills spirit is in its purest form
- Overall enjoyment: Very good. Only overshadowed by its older brother the 16.
Find it here!
Bushmills 16 Year Old
Once again a 100% single malt whiskey. The 16 Year Old is aged for a minimum of 16 years in a combination of Oloroso Sherry and bourbon seasoned casks before being 'finished' in port barrels for several months. Finishing is a term used to denote a further, normally short term maturation of an already mature whisk(e)y.
- Aroma: Dark and inviting – a lot more fortified wine influence evident. Notes of Christmas fruits, dried cherries with vanilla cupcake icing and a good whiff of port.
- Taste: A dark and deep mix of macadamia nut brittle, sherry (more dry than a port flavour), candied orange peel, malt and Christmas pudding. Body:
- Length: Decent length, lingers pleasingly after each visit to the glass.
- Burn: None – a little bit of spice in the mix but doesn’t present like alcohol heat at all.
- Complexity: Definitely the most complex in this round up with a broad spectrum of flavours and aromas.
- Expressiveness: A masterclass in what can be delivered, even at the lower end of the whisky ABV spectrum.
- Texture: Oily but not overly so – a pleasing mouth coating kind of oiliness. The kind Nigella Lawson would talk about for ages though.
- Balance: Wonderfully balanced, allows all the different flavours from the spirit and the casks to shine without anything being overbearing or overshadowed.
- Aroma Enjoyment: Yes
- Taste Enjoyment: Yes Yes Yes
- Overall Enjoyment: Please sir, can we have some more? (Yes Oliver Twist was by no means Irish, but still we feel like begging for more).
Find it here!
Bushmills 21 Year Old
A 100% Irish single malt whiskey. The 21 Year Old is aged for a minimum of 19 years in a combination of Oloroso Sherry and bourbon seasoned casks before being ‘married’ in Madeira casks for two years. Marrying is a term often used to denote a the bringing together of whiskey from different casks for a reasonable period of time for full integration and in this case some extra maturation and an added finish from the Madeira casks.
Aroma: Spicy fruit roll biscuits – a deep rich mix of spiced fruit mince and buttery, dry almost but not quite shortbread. Fresh super dark grape must mixed with the faintest hint of noble rot and old damp cedar. Nose gets sweeter with more time out of the bottle. Worth waiting on.
Taste: A regular fruit and nut platter (dates, figs, dark grapes, almonds and walnuts) on the tongue with a good glass of juicy Grenache to follow up. Dates. Persimmons and apple flesh on the finish.
Body: A nice rounded, sumptuous body that luxuriates in its own magnificence.
Length: Longest finish of the Bushmills core range. The grape must and fruit hang around in the finish.
Burn: Zero – one of the most approachable drams we’ve tried in a long time. Usually a little hit is needed (at least in our experience) to help get the point across but this whiskey needs no such help.
Complexity: So many layers of fruit and nuts to explore and discover. Every time we take another sip the balance of fruits changes as the darker elements wax and wane letting the more tropical and drier, nuttier flavours shine.
Expressiveness: Has no trouble getting its point across (although we dream of trying this at cask strength). The years in the various casks and the quality of the spirit do all the ‘talking’ here.
Texture: Juicy. Has the tongue and back palate coating qualities of a great aged red wine. Leaves a pleasing waxy feeling on the roof of the mouth once swallowed.
Balance: Something Bushmills, especially with older age statements seems to nail. Irish whiskey is usually a fairly light spirit so is in serious danger of being overwhelmed by long rests in oak but the cask influence of bourbon, Oloroso and Madeira and the oak are beautifully balanced here with the spirit.
Aroma Enjoyment: Fantastic stuff – sticking our proboscis deep in the nosing glass we get memories of late night dessert wine and freshly cut cigar.
Taste Enjoyment: One of those whiskies you can hold in your mouth and savour like a good dark grape red wine. Only gets better with time and repeated visits. The balance and the delicate balance and mix of influences make it an easy pleasure to savour.
Overall enjoyment: Adding to the permanent rotation list, effective immediately.
Find it here!