This is a blend of oloroso sherry and bourbon casks and has spent the last two years in madeira casks. This fortified wine beautifully compliments the distillery style. Indeed, this expression evokes memories of my father’s bottles of Bushmills from the 1970’s. Was it a 16 year old or younger? I can’t remember. An interesting thought, as there is a lot of opinion out there which believes the “quality” of whiskies has declined over the years. One thing I’ve never done is a flight of core whiskies from a distillery encompassing say the last five decades. I’m sure I would detect differences but I’m far from convinced it would confirm the opinion.
Off the top of my head, I can think of several distilleries that have improved tremendously in the last twenty or so years, and several more that have gone backwards, at least in my opinion. In a recent club tasting two core whiskies from a very popular Scottish distillery produced ten years apart were tasted side by side. Out of about 30 people, the vote was unanimous, the older bottle won hands down, possibly as there was more sherry influence. Good sherry casks are more expensive than bourbon, we are told. Intriguingly we were told that both bottles were the same price on release. Was the distillery looking to produce the whisky at a certain price point rather than at a certain quality?
I believe a core range bottle of malt would have cost around £10 in the late seventies or early eighties. The average salary in the UK was around £5200 per year in 1980 and today according to the Office for National Statistics it’s around £33,000. Using the increase in average salary as a basis for the price of a bottle of malt today, a core range bottle should cost about £60. It would appear that whisky has gotten cheaper! Does that support the theory that quality has decreased or have distilleries got more efficient? I’ll leave you to decide.
|Previous Drink||Bushmillls 16 Year Old Port Pipe Finish|
|Colour||Dark Golden Straw|
|Nose||Honey / Dark Chocolate|
|Palate||Raisons / Vanilla|
|Finish||Dark Chocolate Which Gradually Mellows Away In A Very Long Finish – Which Is Slightly Drying|
|Overall (Star Rating)||4.5/5 Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗|
I really enjoyed this dram, we are up another level although we’re also significantly up in price (around £180). A brief perusal on the web showed opinion is divided with some complaining it is too “woody”. This is something I did not experience and found rather surprising. I’d probably agree that on the first sip I detected wood, but this disappeared by my second sip having allowed the whisky time to breathe. Allowing whisky to sit in the glass for a few minutes before drinking is well worth it. As a rule of thumb, the older the whisky, the longer you need to wait, sometimes as long as 20 minutes or more. The other thought is that this is a batch whiskey so can vary between batches. Potentially those complaining, had bought a different batch, to the one the sample I was given came from.
Overall, this dram is lovely. You will not be disappointed, although at that price it should be good.