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Bushmills prominently puts 1608, the date in which it received its license to distil, on its bottles. That is not entirely accurate, though. Bushmills was formerly registered as a distillery in 1794, almost 200 years later. It is true, however, that one of the first licenses was granted in 1608 to Thomas Philips (sometimes Phillipps) in County Antrim, where the distillery can be found. So it is nothing more than a marketing stunt. Their range showpiece is this 21 Year Old Bushmills, a vatting of bourbon and oloroso casks that, after at least 19 years of maturation, were re-casked into Madeira casks for a two year finish. The results is fabulous.
The nose is very soft and succulent. The influence of the Madeira is immediately obvious. Toffee, apricots, raspberries, creamy yoghurt, dried fruits and soft spices. Wonderful.
It is silky soft and juicy on the palate. Very sweet on apricots, cherries, but also dark touches of raisins, roasted almonds and marzipan.
The finish dies slowly, like a hearth that does not get stirred up anymore.
Rightfully considered the showpiece of Bushmills, for this is a wonderful whiskey to enjoy for hours on end. It leaves the rest of the range far behind. Pity that it has such a hefty price tag (around 140 EUR).
Happy St Patrick’s Day!