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Bushmills Distillery Reserve 12 Year Old

Average score from 5 reviews and 5 ratings 77

Bushmills Distillery Reserve 12 Year Old

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Bushmills Distillery Reserve 12 Year Old

Lets do a couple of Bushmills (one of my faves), since I'm just sitting here at home - shall we call it accidental self-quarantine (since I'd be just sitting here anyway)?

This bottle is only available to purchase at the distillery, though I got it at an LCBO/Waddingtons auction (I have yet to visit the distillery...perhaps one day...) And yet, like so many bottles I buy though them, the cork has disintegrated upon opening. Sigh. The label states that the whiskies are aged 12-14 years.

The colour is a deep caramel. Really nice sherry influence on the nose with sultana raisins, Medjool dates, dark honey and a very pleasing umami note. Blood orange. Meaty. Nutmeg and cloves. Some charred oak with water; the more time it sits in the glass, the richer and meatier it gets. The crystal clear sweet malt still shines through all of that sherry influence though - very well balanced.

Rich and ultra-fruity on the palate with more of those dates and raisins, with bananas foster, creme brûlée, lots of cloves, smoked paprika and papaya. Cherry nibs! Water brings out more oak. Chewy but with an absolutely silky-smooth mouthfeel - incredibly elegant.

The finish is very long, oaky and with lots of spice, bitters and cloves. It seriously goes on forever. This sits firmly in the wheelhouse of the 16- and 21-year-old malts Bushmills bottles. How is it that the Irish seem to use sherry casks so much better than the Scots? I'm also a fan of the 10yo so let's compare. On the nose, very different as the 10 is both bourbon and oloroso. Although there is so much more sherry to the 12, you can still identify both of their sweet malty DNA. The palate is the same - so different yet so similar to each other, there in the background. If you get to visit Bushmills, buy this. Jim Murray scores this a 95.5 - I'm not going quite that high but he's not wrong - it's as great as Bushmills can get.


Starts full of promise but the introduction of bitterness on the palate and through the finish really counts against this dram for me. Totally different from the 10 year old with the sherry influence dominating. An interesting comparison for those that get the chance to visit this distillery. Nose: Butter, sherry, sultanas. Rich with promise.
Taste: Slightly bitter, fruity and full bodied. Finish: Bitterness gets worse and then diminishes with the other flavours.


I recently had the pleasure of a Bushmills Distillery tour which was excellent. I brought a bottle of this reserve back as a gift for a friend. We enjoyed it, and had a second round the following week to finish off the bottle and head into some blends.

Honey with sherry on the nose and a sweetness of nuts with no real strong overtones.

Soft and smooth on the body. Complex and slightly on the sherry side of things. Slightly oily.

Nice finish of fruits and nuts. Dry with oak.

Overall Comment: A well presented, smooth, subtle and clean whisky, enjoyable but not the distiller's best.

Welcome to Connosr @CharlieWhisky. Nice review, first of many I hope!

Thanks Piero for the welcome! I am writing a few down today that have enjoyed recently! Love the sight...Great Work!


My brother brought back this unique bottle from a recent visit and it is only available for purchase at the distillery.

I must admit that I am a fan of the regular bottle of Bushmills and annually buy one for St. Patrick's day. With that said this bottle goes well beyond the normally pleasant Bushmills.

The nose has a strong sherry presentation with a hint of sweetness. The sweetness was not of a particular fruitiness, if I had to classify it I would compare it to caramel.

The body is a fairly straightforward malt not overly complex. It did leave me with a thin oily coating in my mouth which was not unpleasant but didn't add to the whiskey.

The bottle claims a finish of almonds and marzipan but I would say it tasted more like boiled peanuts. My dad used to get boiled peanuts from a store down the street so they have good associations in my memory.

Overall it was a very nice drink but nothing jumped out as unique or spectacular.


I had a change to visit Bushmills and bring home a bottle of Bushmills Single Irish Malt Whiskey 12 years Old Distillery Reserve. It has been aged in the oaks casks for 12 to 14 years. It is one of most round whiskeys that I have tested. There is a bit of nuttiness in it with sweetness from sherries.The only bad part of it that you have go and get from Bushmills :-(

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