I’m not a big drinker of Irish whiskey. There’s no particular reason for this, but I guess I tend to consciously aim for drams from Scotland or Japan; and personally I rate these the top two countries in the world for whiskies. (Note that Irish and American whiskey ends with ‘ey’ – the rest of the world spells it ‘whisky’.)
So, onto the Bushmills Aged 16 Years single malt Irish whiskey, from Old Bushmills, a distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and which has been churning out liquid since 1608, making it the oldest licenced distillery in the world.
The 16 year old has been been matured in three different wood casks: bourbon, Oloroso sherry and then finally in port. As with many Irish single malt whiskies, it’s been triple-distilled (most Scottish whiskies are double-distilled, with the exception of the Bruichladdich X4+3, which has been distilled four times).
Colour: on the darker side of whiskies, almost like a dark rum, with a rose-coloured tint to it – probably coming from the port casks. On the nose: there are overwhelming sherry notes at first, but it falls back to lovely dried fruits, sultanas, grape juice, all with a lovely, buttery edge.
In the mouth: it’s incredibly smooth and with a lovely weight. Creamy. Those expected dried fruits come through in the taste, perhaps predictably so. It fades leaving an interesting malty tang, which goes just as quickly as it came. Sherry, of course, and a warming, tannin-like edge. A bitter chocolate kick just to finish off.
It’s a lovely dram, not as sophisticated as it could have been, but certainly one of those nice social drams. If you can find a bottle, it’s priced somewhere between £40 and £60.