This 28 year old whiskey spent 13 years in oloroso sherry and bourbon casks and then a further 15 years in madeira casks. It makes me realise why I love cask strength whiskies. It is exclusive to The Whisky Shop and only 738 bottles were produced.
Cask strength can be summed up as whisk(e)y the way nature intended whisk(e)y to be. It quite literally is exactly what was in the cask when the distillery decided to bottle it. It has not had the alcohol content watered down or gone through chill filtration which can remove some of the fatty acid esters and other particles that make up the flavour profile. The ABV of cask strength can vary from 40% to 60% plus, but generally it is 46% and above. If a good cask, even at 60% ABV you will struggle to realise how much alcohol is in there. Cask strength is not for everyone and I’d advise not starting your whisky journey here, it’s better to “build up” to it although once on it, you’ll never look back.
The elephant in the room for this whisky is the retail price of £695. That works out at £30 per 3cl which is a decent sized dram for a cask strength but given “home pours” means it will be even more per dram. If you fancy trying it, then currently it’s going on auction sites for around £430 including commission. Slightly more palatable but still expensive. This bottle is aimed at the premium market or maybe even super premium (for us lesser mortals), so let’s compare it to a Macallan 25 at around £2600 per bottle, which I’d argue the Bushmills is easily on a par with. From that perspective it offers very good value, but unlike the Macallan it’s unlikely to go up in value if you keep it for a few years. But whisky is for drinking I hear you cry and I agree with you. But maybe if you’re successful in picking “investable” bottles then the money can go towards buying equally as good bottles but not so fashionable? Rather than regret the world we live in, maybe we need to accept it and just do the best we can? Enough of the politics and let’s get on with the tasting.
|Bushmillls 21 Year Old Madeira Finish
|Peaches / Mown Grass / Toblerone / Alcohol Prickle
|Thick / Creamy / Peach / Coffee / Chocolate
|Dried Fruits / Chocolate / Then Drying Coffee / Touch Of Heat
|Overall (Star Rating)
|5/5 Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕
This is one of my favourite drams of 2022 that I’ve been lucky enough to try. I’ve ignored the price and given it a 5, as it is exceptional. It is two or three levels above the 21 year old. Whether it is value for money is up to you, several distilleries will charge a similar price for a similar age of whisky, but you do need to try it if you get the chance, maybe as a club bottle so the cost is shared. It has the depth and complexity I love and still has the underlying style of Bushmills.
Overall, if you can get around the price this is a cracker, and you will not be disappointed.