Bushmills claims they have distilled whisky since 1608 but that royal licence was granted to another local landowner and the company that built Old Bushmills Distillery wasn’t established by Hugh Anderson, the founder, till 1784. Does this discrepancy really matter? Probably not, as there are stories that whiskey was first distilled in the area in the thirteenth century. Despite some claims on the internet that Bushmills is only double distilled, the tasting video on this bottle given by Bushmills Master Distiller, Colum Egan, clearly states Bushmills has always used triple distillation. There are other areas of controversy linked to Bushmills, perhaps of interest from an historical perspective, particularly as all distilleries like to trade on their heritage. But the proof is in the drinking, and Bushmills has survived several downturns in the Irish Whiskey industry such as American prohibition, it is obviously doing something right.

Bushmills was the first distillery tour I ever did, and I was lucky enough to be selected from our group to go through the “tasting experience” at the end. My memory is slightly vague, but I think it consisted of seven (possibly nine) whiskies, starting with a Scottish blend and finishing with a Bushmills malt.  Unsurprisingly, the Bushmills samples were voted the best. Certainly, cracking value for the £3 the tour cost at the time! It would be good to go back and see what the distillery is currently offering by way of tours. 

Previous Food EatenShortbread
ColourDark Straw / Good Oily Legs Produced on Swirling
NoseMixed Fruit With Hints of Honey / Banana Toffee
PalateInitial Banana Followed By Tropical Fruit And A Small Hint Of Peach
FinishGentle And Short With Notes Of Wood And Spice
Overall (Star Rating)⅗  Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

I struggled to find the flavours described in the official tasting notes and felt this was somewhat bland but bear in mind that I usually drink cask strength scotch whisky. I could kind of agree with the official notes if I really thought about it, but I totally missed the milk chocolate. Maybe adding a single drop of water might have introduced more flavour. However, that sounds more negative than this whisky deserves. It is a great introduction to Single Malt Irish Whiskey and given the price (around £35) provides good value. 

Irish whiskey is sold on it being triple distilled and hence its smoothness. This whiskey is certainly smooth, mellow and has well integrated flavours (maybe too integrated?) being a blend of bourbon and sherry casks. It was exactly what I expected but the more I tried to identify the flavours by “chewing” the whisky for one second of its age, the less I could identify. An easy drinking starter whiskey, but if you are looking for depth, length and strength of flavours this might disappoint. 

Overall, this is an easy drinker and is an easy “palate trainer” if starting a whisky flight.

Credit: Feature Photo @ Bushmills

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