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I have a few old Bushmills 10 Year Old minis, one of which is bottled at 43%. We'll do that one second; first comes a 40% mini. We'll also compare both with the current bottling (also bottled at 40%). I don't know exactly how old these mini bottlings are (the labels are very different, that's the only way I can tell).
The colour is a light-to-medium gold. Quite malty on the nose, with kumquats, mashed banana, honey and fresh herbs. A little floral with light spices. Maltier, and a little peaty (?) with water. Scrumptious as always.
The palate has a bit more spice to it, with the malt taking centre stage. More banana, papaya, buttered croissants and icing sugar. The honey is a little lighter. Water gives it a tiny bit more kick. Extremely fresh and fruity.
The finish is crisp and clean with light honey, gentle spices and some oak. I'm very happy that this is just as delicious as the current bottling, with some minor differences: the old one has a lighter colour; the nose of the old mini is a touch lighter than the current bottling, but only a touch; the palate of the current malt is a little thinner than the older one...but really it's very close. Remarkably consistent, unlike the Black Bush comparisons I had done before. Perhaps the inconsistencies lie with the grain from Midleton? Hmmmm....now on to the 43%...