Whisky Connosr
Menu
Shop Join

Bushmills Black Bush

A Pleasant Surprise

1 2984

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

15th Aug 2017

0

  • Nose
    20
  • Taste
    22
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    21
  • Overall
    84

Show rating data charts

Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This is an abbreviated version of a post that will be published on my blog tomorrow

I take jabs at Irish whiskey all the time, but I don't really worry about offending anyone, since, as far as I can tell, the Irish don't get offended. Or, at least not by a silly French-Canadian like me. Jocularity aside, I've always found Irish whiskey acceptable if somewhat dull and predictable, like action movies or romantic comedies. Irish whiskey is good in a pinch, I thought, but it doesn't merit the same reverence Scotch whisky commands. A good friend changed my mind somewhat with a tasting of Green Spot. While it's good, the price of Green Spot (here in Ontario) also buys a nice bottle of Old Pulteney 12, Glenfiddich 15, Laphroaig 10 or Highland Park 12. All of those suit me better than the Green Spot. But on a recent family trip, I purchased a bottle of Bushmills Black Bush and found an Irish whiskey that outperforms just about anything I've found at that price point (approx. $37 CAD).

Black Bush contains a "high proportion" of malt whiskey that was aged 8-10 years in Oloroso Sherry casks. What is "a high proportion" of malt whiskey? I don't know. I've read it's as high as 80% malt whiskey, but I can't seem to confirm this anywhere.

Tasting Notes

  • Nose (undiluted): citrus (lemon), red fruit, red grapes, apples
  • Palate (undiluted): medium-bodied, very little tongue-burn (bottled at 40% ABV), lots of red fruit (cherry, raspberry), malty, nutty, biscuits
  • Finish: medium length, red fruit developing to milk chocolate, cinnamon with a licorice note lingering.

Adding water didn't change much in the character of this whiskey, but adding ice brought out more fruit and toned down a bit of the malt sweetness. I prefer this one neat, or maybe chilled. I would like to try chilling the bottle or even the glass. At 40% ABV, it doesn't need to be diluted any further, but tasting it cold was quite nice (heresy to some, I'm sure). I was surprised that the finish was as long as it was. I find Bushmills Original has a fairly short finish and I was surprised that this one went on as long as it did. Maybe the Oloroso casks had a prominent influence, or maybe it is close to 80% malt whiskey after all. I'm not quite sure where the longer finish comes from, but it's a treat.

Related Bushmills reviews

29 comments

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

Yeah, short of switching over to bourbon, I'd agree that Black Bush is one of the best values you can find on the shelf.

I too would like to know where the long finish comes from. And not just on the Black Bush, but in general. Why do some whiskies have longer finishes? Sometimes people attribute it to long aging—especially in the negative sense, like Wow, that was a short finish for such an old whisky—but I personally have never noticed that correlation to begin with and I've never seen anyone articulate why older whiskies should have longer finishes.

As to the malt v. grain recipe here, I think a very underappreciated aspect to Bushmills' blends is that the Bushmills distillery only makes malt. All their blends are made with grain whisky they source from Midleton. I visited the distillery in 2014 and they did a good job dancing around that subject on the tour.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@MadSingleMalt, good comment. That last bit about the Bushmills people not wanting to admit that they don't produce all of the whiskey which goes into their own products makes me laugh at all of the pompous pretension and posturing in a ridiculously romaticised industry. That is the usual whisk(e)y industry bullshit. Anyone who looks closely can see that the emperor has no clothes. The whiskies themselves all stand or fall on their own merits. The words spoken about them tend to be BS. People who listen to the marketing malarkey are people who just want to be conned in order to continue to dwell in the little romaticised universes which swirl around in their heads.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@Victor: True, true. But that romantic bullshit has some value too, at least if it's just an extra layer of fun on top of good-quality whisky. You can pitch me malarkey about Springbank controlling the temperature of their malting floor with nothing more than a open a window all day, every day, and I'll lap it up.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

It's like the waiter at the upscale restaurant telling you "Excellent choice, sir!" no matter what you ordered. Most of us do tend to enjoy reinforcement of and concurrence for our choices made and of our pet likes, even if that concurrence is coming from the people to whom we are shelling out $ 150 for a bottle of booze. The product information on the box and bottle are telling us we have made 'an excellent choice'. The company website is telling us we have made an excellent choice.' The glossy magazines and fan-blogs are telling us we have made 'an excellent choice.' From the inside it is: "I've paid my money. Now I am ready to learn everything I can which will contribute to my enjoying of this product to the max."

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

I'm the same. As much as I poke fun at Ardbeg and Macallan for the "creative" backstories to some of their whiskies, it's all good fun. And I'll pretty much buy anything Laphroaig puts out there.

2 years ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

True again, @Victor. A great deal of advertising (and marketing in general) exists not to convince you to buy something, but rather to convince you that the thing you already bought was a good idea—so you don't return it to the store or complain to your friends that your Ford Fiesta is a real piece of crapola.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@MadSingleMalt Reading the write-ups for pretty much any SMSW, you're told about the "specially selected casks/whiskies" etc. regardless of whether the malt in question cost $20 or $2000.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@OdysseusUnbound Well, even Johnnie Walker Red has specially chosen casks. They specially choose the worst casks that would ruin any other malt or blend...

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@Nozinan, thank you for making me laugh!!!

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Victor It's always a pleasure...but tasting JW RED is NOT funny.

I did try it from a bottle from the late 70s or early 80s and it was drinkable. Currently it is not for sipping.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@Nozinan, if the people in this club knew that you are actually funnier still in person than in writing then they would be sitting at the doorstep of your new house before you arrived, waiting for the next show.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Victor They should come to my old house.... so I don't have to transfer as much whisky.

HEEL PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

what were discussing here? Oh, Bushmills, right.

2 years ago 0

@cricklewood
cricklewood commented

Ok no one's gonna go there?? Black bush...I mean c'mon. Here's what a friend who works at the SAQ sent me when they got a shipment. I know juvenile but it's too easy.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

Expand image
@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@cricklewood Maybe it's not too easy. If there's a joke there it's lost on me. May private message me to fill me in?

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Or public?

2 years ago 0

@cricklewood
cricklewood commented

You guys are killing me...

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

Expand image
@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@cricklewood

So much for family standard....

But I still don't get the first photo...

2 years ago 0

@cricklewood
cricklewood commented

I mean no offense to anyone with my juvenile silliness, I am a fan of both low and high brow humor. I'll put a lid on it. @Nozinan my apologies

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@cricklewood No offense taken. Really. But I still don't see the joke in the first photo...

2 years ago 0

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@cricklewood That looks more like a green Bush. I think Bushmills is doing an IPA Cask release that they'll be calling Green Bush. stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood commented

@Nozinan, there was no joke to read into on the first pic, it was just like the equivalent of laughing when you see the name Dick Sledge. My apologies again, we can return to our regularly scheduled program. I might just go buy a bottle of this as penance.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Frost
Frost commented

My benchmark blended Irish whiskey. However, isn't this one a blending of Grain and Pot Still? No malt...?

2 years ago 0

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Frost From their website:

Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey combines a high amount of malt whiskey matured in former Oloroso Sherry casks, with a sweet, batch-distilled grain whiskey. This unique recipe means Black Bush has rich, fruity notes and a deep intense character, balanced by an incredibly unique smoothness

2 years ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

Malt from Bushmills and grain from Midleton.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Frost
Frost commented

@MadSingleMalt I'd read the grain came from Midleton. I find the situation interesting.

2 years ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@Frost , until all these newer small distilleries in Ireland get on their feet, the situation there is kinda like if all we had in the US was three separate versions of Indiana's MGP cranking out different recipes for all the sub-players to buy, blend, and brand.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

You must be signed-in to comment here

Sign in