Bushmills’ sumptuous magnum opus spins aromas of sultana, brown sugar, walnut oil, date slice, chocolate-covered cranberries, leather gloves, and a hint of espresso. The dark, crepuscular mystique continues in the syrupy mouthfeel redolent of forest honey, banana bread, nuts, browned butter, sultana, date, and blackberry. Utterly beguiling, the Madeira finish works wonders here, right through to the last moments of the smooth, sweet finish. A must-try for all.
Deep amber color. Richly flavored aroma, with notes of toffee, raisins, dates, honeyed malt, and demerara rum. Medium in body and richly textured. Toffee & rum-like flavors entertain the palate first, followed by chocolate covered raisins and dates. The whiskey then begins to dry out mid-palate, as the 21 years in oak becomes evident, contributing notes of vanilla and subtle mint. Dry finish with lingering notes of oak and polished leather.
Style: Irish single malt whiskey. Price: about $120. Available in select markets.
This is a delicious whiskey that should appeal to both the Irish and Scotch whisk(e)y drinker. Aged initially in sherry and bourbon casks, the whiskey was then finished in Madeira casks. It is complex in flavor and very well balanced. It is one of the best Irish whiskeys on the market. This whiskey has been a long time comin', but it was worth the wait.
Ireland’s technical regulations provide flexibility with the type of wood used for aging, hence this seriously aromatic whiskey with piquant citrus, lemon, fresh ginger root, sponge cake, apple peel, sour cherry, and dry spices of pepper, cumin, and whole nutmeg. Delicious citrus peel, rich honey, vanilla pod, ground ginger, banana, and grapefruit, but no matter how hard it tries, it keeps shifting back to the spices. More experiments with these barrels, please! (12,000 bottles) £74
This is what the standard Bushmills Malt 10 year old should taste like. A classic Irish whiskey nose. Deliciously sweet creamy notes of vanilla, marshmallow, honey, powdered sugar, and polished oak. Faint tropical fruit notes emerge from time to time. Very clean on the palate, with a dry, bourbon-like finish. Those extra few years in wood, along with being non-chill-filtered, add richness, depth, and complexity.
This is just a delight; a real flavor giver. A wave of honey sweeps along aromas of creamy vanilla, white peach, fresh citrus peel, white pepper, cinnamon stick, and milk chocolate. It starts delicately with melon, light grape, and vanilla, swells with citrus acidity and creamy caramel, ramping up to toffee, darker fruits, chocolate, Fruit Pastilles, and a little oak. The finish is mouth-clinging, with vanilla and spice.
A blend of three different types of whiskey -- malt whiskey, grain whiskey, and a third component which is said to be a malt whiskey produced from crystal malt. Brewers and homebrewers know crystal malt well, a slightly caramelized version of malted barley. Its rich texture suggests a decent malt content for a blend. Layers of sweetness (honeyed vanilla, rummy molasses, toasted marshmallow) are balanced by toasted nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate. Very dynamic and with plenty of grit. Smartly bottled at 46%.
Irish whiskey and rum aren't a common combination, but Bushmills makes a strong case for it with a 19 year old whiskey finished in a rum cask. The rum's influence is clearly present on the nose, with brown sugar that supports Bushmills’ toasted malt. On the palate the rum's dark molasses complements Bushmills’ chocolate malty goodness. Everything balances out in the mid-palate with the addition of oak, which carries through to a semi-dry finish. Superb integration of unlikely cask mates. (Park Avenue Liquor only)
Sweet honey daubed on ripe plums, an abundance of barley notes, black cherry, and a smattering of exotic spices. Juicy notes of cherry, plum, peach, and strawberry, with undertones of peppery spice. The flavor fills out with lovely malty notes, Quaker Oats, and vanilla. The port cask has really complemented the Bushmills character, and this second edition in the Steamship collection is the best in the series to date. (£99; Global Travel Retail only)
The fruitiest of the three. Notes of ripe fruit, candied almonds, treacle and toffee. Dry, spicy oak notes on the finish. Rich and thick in texture, but not to the point of being cloying. And while the sherry notes are prominent throughout, they do not dominate like many other Scotch and Irish whiskeys. It’s well balanced and very enjoyable. Save this one for after dinner.
An interesting alternative to a traditional Irish whiskey (kind of reminds me of the rum-casked Springbanks and the Glenfiddich Havana Reserve). Flavors of toffee, light molasses and caramelized sugar throughout, with a hint of lime and spice. Chewy in texture, too. There’s a nice interplay between the sweet rum notes and the dry oak spices, with the oak emerging the victor on the finish.
Are you a bourbon lover with an untapped curiosity for Irish whiskey? I have a job for you. Try nosing out the cinnamon, molasses, sultanas, tarte Tatin, and sweet crème brûlée on Colum Egan’s young creation aged in first-fill bourbon casks. A brash combination of spice, cinnamon, cooked apple and pear, caramel popcorn, bitter vanilla, and spun sugar, which finishes with wood char, burnt sugar, and toffee apple.
Bushmills The Steamship Collection Rum Cask Reserve, 40%
Irish Single Malt | $130
Jaffa orange, flowers, hard candies, rose water, and light spices make a rather muted offering. Fortunately there’s a sweet, malty mouthful of fudge, orange shred, gingerbread, and candied orange slices, with a nibble of peppercorn spices and a finish of clove-studded orange. Tasty and well-balanced, salvaging the less than inspiring nose. (Travel Retail)
The most northerly of Northern Ireland’s distilleries, Bushmills ages this spirit in bourbon and oloroso casks before finishing in port wine casks. The sweet notes of fat, ripe blueberries, plum flesh, and dusty, dry warehouses sketch out the nose. It lands on the tongue dry but piquant, then the fruit swarms all over it; blueberry, black currant, and apple, with hazelnut, chocolate pralines, black pepper, and spice. This was once the pick of the range, but the port influence seems feistier than older bottlings and I miss how smooth this used to taste.
This is the whiskey that introduces the American journalist to Belfast drinking culture in Colin Bateman’s Divorcing Jack. The sherry cask maturation is the key; mouthwatering autumn fruits plucked from the trees, cinnamon-apple cobbler, and cocoa-dusted raisins. A smooth, glistening dram from the North Antrim coast; weighty and fruity, the sweetness turning to raisin chocolate bars. There is a lot to bite on. It slips away reluctantly, leaving a long, dark sweetness behind it. One glass is never enough.
Who wouldn’t love this? Aromas of vanilla, malt, cream, cake batter, mashed banana, and heady florals, with a hint of dark fruit and dry spice. There is concordance between the nose and palate; the taste is sweet and honeyed, with orange, lemon and lime zest, and well-integrated spices, then becomes creamier, with custard, banana loaf, a little dark peel, and marmalade. Honey and citrus round things off nicely.
Malt whiskey and honey flip back and forth in the nose; so precisely balanced my nose doesn’t seem to know what to make of it. Light and a bit frisky in the mouth, and the honey is more a grace note than a strong presence, though it does come in more in the finish. Not overly sweet, not heavy, but it’s hard to see the honey as a real game-changer.
This first release in the Steamship Collection was matured in oloroso sherry butts and enticingly smells both oily and jammy. Dried fruits, such as cranberry, cherry, and raisin, with Brazil nut oil, wood spice, and light pepper. A soft dram, tasting of stewed apple, plum, cherry jelly, spiced orange, dark chocolate, and ending with spices, pepper, fading fruit, and carob nibs. It’s not all at sea, but just needs more body, especially mid-palate, to ride the waves of oloroso influence. (Travel Retail exclusive) £65