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Bushmills 1608 400th Anniversary

Average score from 8 reviews and 25 ratings 85

Bushmills 1608 400th Anniversary

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Bushmills 1608 400th Anniversary

I had this one at Domo Bar (Madrid) back in Dec 2015; that bar is usually a knowledgeable spot (whisky-wise) but that day they served it on a highball glass full of ice cubes to the brim (check the picture) so I had to have those removed and the spirit transferred.

As for the whiskey (Irish spelling, of course): a dark amber to orange pour. Very intense aromas of vanilla, caramel, orange peel, clove and pipe tobacco. Mouthfeel is oily and robust, leading into a smoky sip. Pleasant, long-lingering finish with bitter and smoky tinges and an aftertaste of citrus. Very nice.


A little of 5 years ago I tried this Bushmills for the first time. I remember thinking it was absolutely stunning, but my knowledge was still rather limited. Now, with over 2.000 whisky’s under my belt, I think it is time to revisit this one. Mind you: this is not a single malt, but a blend that was awarded the title Best Irish Blended Whiskey in 2008.

The nose is honeysweet on mango, banana, marshmallows and figs. Peach from a can. Walnuts. Hint of candied syrup, the one you put on pancakes. Dark, let me describe it like that. Loads of vanilla and caramel. Very inviting.

The palate is wonderfully creamy and very sweet. Think apricots, peach, vanilla and mandarin. Hint of chocolate, but also – please do not laugh – peanut butter! Something that reminds me of rum. Quite syrupy on second sip. Touch zesty. Sugared orange peel.

The finish is surprisingly long on dried fruit and chocolate with a hint of honey.

The Bushmills 1608 remains a top dram in my book. Thanks, Pat!


This bottle is newly opened but was a birthday present last year, straight from the distillery where it was apparently one of the few remaining bottles of the 400th Anniversary Edition left there.

This is an interesting experiment in distilling, apparently they’ve used crystal malt in the production of this whiskey which is an interesting choice. Crystal malt is used in brewing to impart body and sweet malty, toffee like flavours to beer as it includes a high proportion of unfermentable sugars, however how much of this character comes through in a distillate is the question.

The aroma is rich and malty with some sherry and smoke. It’s a toasty warming combination, not achingly complex but on a good track.

It’s full bodied and smooth on the palate with malt which simply purrs. The smooth maltyness is complimented by some hints of coffee, raisins and dark rum. Like the aroma this is an enjoyable theme without frills or fireworks.

The malty theme continues to the finish with some spice making an appearance and the dark rum continues to chip in with a little sweetness.

I like this whiskey a lot more than my score suggests. An ideal whiskey to sip absentmindedly while reading.


A very special edition of the Bushmills 1608 blend, this commemorates the distillery’s 400 year anniversary. A blend containing 95% malt and 5% grain whiskey made with 30% crystal malt* for exceptional smoothness.

Crystal malts are high-nitrogen malts that are wetted and roasted in a rotating drum before kilning. They produce strongly sweet toffee-like flavors and are sufficiently converted that they can be steeped without mashing to extract their flavour.

Irish whiskies can be very smooth due mostly to their use of triple distillation (not all). However, this whisky redefines 'smooth'. It's exceptional and makes for easy dramming. Don't be fooled though, this whisky is also complex and balanced.

Nose: Rich, warm. Plenty of floral, sherried notes. Slightly earthy, berry fruits, vanilla and a hint of smoke.

Palate: Full, round palate with marzipan, peels, sherry, thickness.

Finish: Long and fruity, becomes slightly dry.

Overall: A superb Irish blend, lovely balance

World Whiskies Awards 2012 - Best Irish No Age Statement Blended Whiskey (previously won in 2008). Jim Murray awarded the blend 94 points.The bottle, with its easily identified shape, comes in a very nicely presented case and makes for a perfect gift.

This whisky now sits in my 'core collection' - those few whiskies that are relpaced instantly they are drunk.

Treat yourself.


I first tasted this whiskey at The Sweet Hereafter in Southeast Portland Oregon. It was so delicious that I just had to buy a bottle. In fact, my girlfriend believed the bartender when he told us that his was the last bottle in the state of Oregon, and so she sent away for a bottle to surprise me at Christmas.

It was I who ended up surprising her. I bumped into a bottle at the Ichor Store less than a mile from our home, and purchased it. When I took it out of the box on the kitchen counter, and debated opening it right then and there, my honey's draw nearly dropped when she saw it (about two weeks before Christmas). Then she began sobbing in frustration. Needless to say, I felt terrible and tried to console her to no avail.

After that drama, I did need a drink after all, so I took the bottle out of the elaborate box that almost appeared like a tiny coffin linked with silk.

Unfortunately, the packaging was far more elegant than the whiskey, which did not taste anything like the glass at Sweet Hereafter that my girl and I shared together romantically. (Actually, she liked it so much that I helped her finish the glass of wine that she'd ordered.)

Well . . . what to say. This is simply NOT the same whiskey I fell in love with. I'm not sure what happened. I now have two bottles of it and this one is so bad that I can't bear to open the second. I'm going to save it as a gift to give some unsuspecting friend who does not have a very sophisticated palate. Watch that bottle end up as good as the glass I savored at the bar! Ugh. It's a lose/lose situation that can only end badly, due to my lack of confidence. I have already offered about half the bottle to friends who dropped by for the holidays. I will probably end up bringing it to a New Year's Eve party at my friend's house. He's a great guy and is famous for a certain show about looking for Bigfoot. Needless to say, he doesn't like whiskey all that much, and so much the better. Most of our friends won't notice that this bottle is blotto.

Enough with the rigmorole. Here is the review:

Nose: Cheap carmel syrup made from corn sweetner; stale carmel corn; very faint waft of a distant feedlot as you hastily speed past on the freeway with the poor cows and steers waiting to be butchered--standing ankle deep in their own putridity & fear (hence, the "barnyardy" affectation of the title of this review).

Initial taste: Wet bricks & mortar at a construction site; the tang of a cherry tree branch broken in half and wet with sap; regular old Bushmills without anything special or worth celebrating as an "anniversary."

Mid note: Slyly comes the yuppie Irish devil with all of his heat and temper. No pay-off whatsoever. Flat burn that merely prolongs the initial taste.

Finish: Autumn smoke from farmers burning their fields; still the heat, it won't leave one's tongue gracefully; resignation; defeat; sorrow.


Much like Black Bush but with the crytal malt it has more spice, darker chocolate with a hint of arabica coffee,

With the limited nature of this expression, sorry you may have to settle for Black Bush (it could be worse)


So I thought I would treat myself today as I just finished a bit of commission work I had been doing. I headed on down to one of my favorite wine/liquor stores and was set to browse around until I found something that piqued my interest; I had no idea what I was looking to buy (I prefer to try as many different things as I can, that way nothing gets boring), and was looking at a bottle of bourbon (Knob Creek, great stuff and I do recommend it) when the owner of the shop told me about something they just got in and offered to let me try a sample.

Let me stop here for a second and just make a point of this. If you shop at a reputable shop that focuses more on giving a crap about their customer and being honest with them rather than a place that is just looking to sell sell sell, there is one thing you should do above all others; be a good customer and develop a rapport with the owner. 9 times out of 10, they will tip you off to something that just came in, offer you good deals/samples and be very open with you about what is really good and what is more commodity / high volume brand. It's like having a relationship with your local butcher; if you treat him with respect and show that you know a little, he'll give you the good stuff. Now back to the review...

I tried the sample and was blown away, and when I asked him what it was he showed me the bottle; I almost fell to the floor because I was so sure that it was a single malt (though I did guess it was from Ireland) because of it's richness. He told me that they, Bushmills, were going to be discontinuing the bottling, so they were getting rid of their stock at (what I can only guess) below cost. Once I saw it was normally going for 60-70 a bottle and he was offering it at 27 USD, I promptly grabbed 3 bottles with a promise to come back for more soon.

On the nose, I get a load of raisins and toffee as well as some baked apple. There is also a considerable amount of spice to it as well, and some pear notes lingering in the background. The thing that is striking about this is you wouldn't peg it as a blend by nosing it; the malt component really jumps out at you. On the palate, I get a lot of toffee and fruit; some cinnamon starts coming to the front as you hold it on your tongue, as well as a splash of grapefruit and burnt raisins. It's also very mouth coating; there's a thickness to this whiskey that is just gorgeous.

The finish lingers for days; lots of spicy oak, some vanilla and raisins again, as well as the vaguest hint of smoke. It's well into 2 minutes after swallowing the sip and I can still taste it clear as day.

This whiskey will make someone who is not into Irish whiskey reconsider their position. I am a big fan of Jamesons offerings and have always found Bushmills standard bottlings to be a bit bland, but this really takes the cake (fruit cake to be precise). I will say that while I don't prefer water in this for my palate, a few drops will cream out the palate even more and take away the pepperiness on the back of the tongue which some people might find a bit too aggressive.

I finally found one! The only bottle left, at a local liquor store. I paid $114. for it, and still glad to get it. There are a few others around, but getting pretty scarce. Glad to hear the positive reviews! I am looking forward to opening it one day, just afraid that when I do it will be gone quickly, and impossible to get more! That is life. As they say, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Cheers, Carl

27??? All I have to say is 27 EUR, USD, GBP, whatever is a steal. I live in Dallas and Bushmills Black label costs $40. Bushmills 10 is $50, Bushmills 16 is $80, Bushmills 21 is $115 and Bushmills 1608 is $120 and worth every penny.

I think Bushmills is up there as my favorite line. I love every label they have except for the white label. If I could find it for 27 (any currency) I would buy the store out and not think twice about it.



According to history (or is it legend), the first ever official sanction to distil aqua vitae was given to Sir Thomas Philips in 1608 by King James I of England. To celebrate this event's 400th Anniversary, Bushmills released this expression in 2008.

This is not a single malt, but a fine blend of well aged grain whiskey and crystal malt (according to the label 'for exceptional smoothness). It has no age statement.

It's that crystal malt that gives Bushmills 1608 it's darker color and flavour, for it has been aged in American bourbon casks and Spanish Oloroso sherry casks.

Crystal malt is obtained by gently roasting the germinated barley while still moist, which partially crystallizes the grains and enhances the natural sweetness.

On the nose, the crystal malt provides an immediate sweetness of dark chocolate and is accompanied by coffee & toffee (from the sherry casks), orange peel and the well known vanilla and honey that are so typical for Bushmills. You can smell the American oak in the background.

On the palate you'll get a real treat! Delicous! Like silk in the mouth, with a slight pepper note. Very intense.

The finish... Ah, now that's a finish! It's long and intense (remember: 46% ABV).

This blend is non-chill filtered. At the World Whisky Awards of 2008, it won the 'Best Irish Blended Whiskey Award'. No small wonder. It simply magnificent. Give it a try, you'll not be dissappointed, I'm sure.

Wow! Added to the wishlist. How much did it set you back?

In Belgium, this bottle goes for 65 EUR, in the States for approx $100. Not sure what that does in your neck of the woods, though. Down Under, right? LMK if you could find it. Happy hunting!

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