The Bushmills Irish Whiskey Core Range
The Irish have a well-deserved reputation for their hospitality. This St. Patrick’s Day Bushmills is upholding that tradition by covering the bill for thousands of St. Patrick’s Day drinks for its American customers.
To take advantage of that generous gesture, Irish whiskey lovers who are 21 years old or older can simply buy a Bushmills Irish whiskey pour or cocktail from a favorite local bar or restaurant, take a photo of the itemized receipt displaying the purchase of Bushmills and upload the receipt through the Bushmills/First Whiskey site.
Valid receipts will receive a reimbursement of up to $6.00 (paid via Venmo, PayPal or Amazon) on purchases from January 1 through March 18, 2021, in participating US states. Official terms and conditions can be found at the programs official website.
The reimbursement is applicable to any Bushmills whiskey, from entry level pours to premium expressions. Make sure your state is included, however, as the offer is not valid in: Texas, Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana and Utah.
Bushmills have also teamed up with Trip Advisor to create custom discovery guides across all major US cities where consumers can grab their Bushmills #firstwhiskey to go.
Bushmills is one of the oldest whiskey brands in the world. The original distilling license, from which the Bushmills Distillery would eventually emerge, was issued in 1608. That’s why the 1608 dates appears prominently on each bottle of Bushmills.
The Bushmills Old Distillery Company, however, wasn’t established until 1784, when Hugh Anderson built a distillery at the present location. The Kilbeggan Distillery was issued a distilling license in 1757, so there has been an ongoing good-natured rivalry between the two distilleries over who can claim to be the oldest.
Either way, Bushmills has been making Irish whiskey for centuries. Long before New York, Boston or Chicago had held their first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade the distillery was making whiskey and exporting it to America.
Bushmills is also the only whiskey distillery to have graced a bank note. In 2013, the Bank of Ireland (Northern Ireland) featured a profile of the distillery on its £10 sterling notes.
The Old Bushmills Distillery is situated on the rugged and beautiful north coast of Ireland in the village of Bushmills – from which it takes its name – not far from the world-famous Giant’s Causeway geological formation. The River Bush, which runs from the Antrim Hills through the same type of basalt rock that makes up the Giant’s Causeway, passes through Bushmills before reaching the sea at Portballintrae on the north Antrim coast.
The Distillery can claim to be among the first ‘grain to glass’ distilleries in Ireland. All of its whiskey is produced, matured and bottled on site using locally grown grain. Over the last half century, the Distillery has won hundreds of medals for its whiskey expressions.
The Bushmills core range consists of Bushmills Original, Bushmills Red Bush, Bushmills Black Bush, Bushmills 10 YO, 16 YO and 21 YO single malts. Below are tasting notes of the various expressions in the core range. There are also several limited edition, annual release expressions like the Bushmills The Rare Casks, 28 YO, Single Malt Cognac Cask Finish. This is the oldest expression ever released by Bushmills.
Bushmills whiskey is either a blended or a single malt whiskey. It is triple distilled from 100% malted barley. It is not peated. Unlike pot still whiskey producers, it does not use any unmalted barley in its mash bill.
Stylistically it falls between Irish pot still whiskeys and Scotch whisky. It tends to be sweeter and smoother that Scotch whisky with more pronounced fruit and citrus notes, but less sweet than pot still whiskeys.
ARP signifies average retail price.
Bushmills Advertisement for the “Your First One Of 2021 Is On Us” campaign
Bushmills, Original Irish Whiskey, 40% ABV, 750 ml, ARP $20; Bushmills, Black Bush Irish Whiskey, 40% ABV, 750 ml, ARP $30; Bushmills, Red Bush Irish Whiskey, 40% ABV, 750 ml, ARP $22
All three of these whiskeys are blended whiskeys. They consist of a mix of grain whiskey and single malt whiskey. Unlike blended Scotch whiskies, which contain a variety of single malts in the blend, these blends only contain Bushmills single malt. The ratio between grain and single malt whiskeys is not disclosed. None of the bottlings carry an age statement.
The Bushmills Original is the distillery’s entry level whiskey. It is smooth, offering up pronounced aromas of vanilla and cooked cereal and digestive biscuit notes. It’s sweet and fruity on the palate, but ends with a noticeable alcohol burn.
Black Bush has a higher proportion of single malt whiskey to grain whiskey. The blend is matured in Oloroso Sherry butts, giving it a darker color and a more pronounced dried fruit character.
It’s smoother and sweeter than the Bushmills Original with the distinctive Christmas fruitcake aroma and flavors typical of whiskeys that have seen some Sherry cask maturation. On the palate there are cinnamon, honey, and apple and pear notes. This is a very sippable whiskey. It shows a little alcohol burn on the finish, though less so than the Original and, surprisingly, just a hint of salinity.
Red Bush is matured in first fill, medium charred, ex-Bourbon casks. This is the most Bourbon-like of all the Bushmills expressions. It has pronounced aromas of sweet caramel, vanilla, cooked cereal, along with nuts and a hint of buttered popcorn. There are more noticeable citrus notes on the palate, along with toast and a slight furniture wax note that borders on the medicinal.
Bushmills, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 10 YO, 40% ABV, 750 ml, ARP $35
The 10 YO is the youngest single malt offered by Bushmills. It’s matured entirely in ex-Bourbon casks and offers up notes of honey, vanilla, apples and pears. It’s very reminiscent of Speyside Scotch whiskies like The Glenlivet. It’s smooth and creamy on the palate, with fruit notes and a hint of smokiness.
Bushmills, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 16 YO, 40% ABV, 750 ml, ARP $125
The 16 YO is matured for roughly 16 years in a combination of ex-Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry butts. It’s then finished for several months in a Port wine cask (pipe). The result is a sweet, smooth, fruity whiskey that offers up aromas of raisins, dried fig and strawberry, along with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, a hint of clove and a bit of salted nuts. The palate offers candied citrus zest, port notes of cherry and raisin, with spicy/winey, red vermouth like notes. This is a complex, nuanced whisky that shows layers of dried fruit sweetness.
Bushmills, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 21 YO, 40% ABV, 750 ml, ARP $247
The 21 YO is matured for 19 years in a combination of ex-Bourbon casks and Oloroso Sherry butts. It then spends its final two years in Madeira casks. This is a layered complex whiskey that offers up notes of candied citrus, oak, vanilla and a noticeable cooked cereal maltiness.
On the palate, there are flavors of dried fruits, especially raisin and fig, as well as mango, along with toasted almond and pecan notes. There are additional flavors of caramel, along with some milk chocolate and a hint of mint. This is an exceptionally smooth and silky whiskey with a sweet finish that ends on a slightly drying note.
Bushmills is one of the world’s great whiskeys. If you’re an old fan, this St. Patrick’s Day is a splendid opportunity to renew your acquaintance. If you’ve never had Bushmills before, here’s an opportunity to make a new friend.
I have been writing and speaking about wines and spirits for 20 years. Along the way I became a winemaker, Oregon Pinot Noir; a judge for various international