Old Bushmills Distillery: Original Irish Whiskey
Tasting Conditions: I was at a party where we were each supposed to bring some nips (50 mL bottles) of different spirits to try. Since my liquor store gets the same price for Bushmills and vodka, the choice was easy. At the end of the night, I brought this spare bottle home. I decided to pop this one open since it was a glass bottle and I was moving. It was stored in indifferent conditions for under a week, and tasted in a snifter of approximately eight ounces.
Eye: In the bottle, Bushmills is a yellowish flaxen color. In the glass, the color doesn’t change at all. A swirl reveals legs that start thick, but get quite narrow as they slide down the class. The whiskey comes in a square bottle that tapers as it gets to the top. Certainly compared to the other nips I bought, it was the nicest. Having seen the full size bottle, it is quite similar to the nip.
Nose: There is a nice aroma with just a hint of smoke. The aroma is fairly smooth without too much alcoholic kick. Otherwise the aroma is slightly bready and quite nutty, though the two are fairly similar. There was also a hint of vanilla and a lot of peanut.
Mouth: I started, as I always do, with neat spirit. The taste was quite rich, and surprisingly smooth for such an inexpensive spirit. The front was buttery and smooth with a bit of honey and caramel, and perhaps a touch of vanilla. As it moved towards the back, the caramel became almost more like a nut brittle, and I got a lot of peanut butter on the finish. There was also a somewhat spicy element there as well. I moved on to the second stage: dilution with still ice water. The water did not change the flavor noticeably, though it became even smoother with less bite. The spiciness was also a touch more noticeable. The texture became slightly more buttery, but not much. For the final taste, I added a cube of ice. The ice really brought out the nuttiness on the front, while it became less noticeable on the finish. It also brought vanilla notes to the fore.
Conclusion: This is a wonderful whiskey, certainly for a beginner, which I undoubtedly am. It was smooth and yummy and creamy, and, most important, extremely cheap. At $15 for a bottle (buying nips), this is almost the same price as drinkable vodka or decent white rum, and yet it’s completely sipable neat even by palates that aren’t so used to straight spirits. I would be interested in using this as a mixing spirit. This is definitely staying on the shelf. How you drink it is up to you. I am not sure how I will, because it’s quite good however you enjoy it.
I should add that I enjoyed this spirit a week or so later. I didn’t find it quite as nice. Perhaps it was the choice of glassware…or lack there of. While it faired nicely in a snifter, when moved to a plastic keg cup, it didn’t do nearly as well.
I meant to have a picture to post, but unfortunately I forgot to take one. Next time!
Best of health,