Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
Well folks, it's March 16th and tomorrow is that hallowed St. Paddy's Day. I last reviewed a Tullamore Dew 12, and so keeping with the theme, here is a Bushmills I've had around here for almost a year. If all goes well, my girlfriend and I will realize our plans for a year from now and take a trip to Ireland; visiting Bushmills is on the agenda.
Because, you see - Bushmills is the only Irish distillery that permits visitors. If you believe the marketing, distilling on the site goes back over 400 years (thought the current facilities were built in Victorian times). Another unique feature of the distillery is it is one of the very few to create both single malts and blends under the same brand (though the grain whiskey for the blends is made to order at Midleton). The 16 Year Old is not just the 10 Year Old matured for longer - it is a blend of two 16 year old malts, one having been aged in bourbon casks, the other in Oloroso sherry casks; then they are married together and finished for nine months in port pipes. Hence the moniker "Three Wood".
The nose is chock full of dark rich fruits, marzipan, Christmas cake and rum raisin - behind all that, it is softly malty. Then comes some dark chocolate (but not too dark - there is some milk chocolate there too) and roasted hazelnuts. Water brings the malt forward, with more rum raisin. Rich, wonderful nose, very complex.
The palate is sweet and malty, with black liquorice, pencil lead, grape, honey, and a good dollop of oak. Extremely mouth-filling (less so with water), incredibly rich - but over time it becomes more and more sulphurous.
The finish is very warm and deep, lots of stewed fruits and more chocolate - and a little more sulphur than I would like. You can definitely feel those port pipes now. This is a rich meal of a whiskey - chewy, filling and satisfying - but as I continue to enjoy the whiskey in the glass, more astringency shows which I am not crazy about, reminiscent a bit of the Jameson 18 Year Old. That Jameson tasted too oaky for me after a while, while this Bushmills is a little bit too sulphurous. So if you don't mind a little sulphur, you'll love it - but a bit too much for me.