I was surprised to realize that I have never reviewed the two basic Bushmills whiskeys: the Original blend and the 10 Year Old malt. Shocking, since I've always enjoyed Bushmills - let's correct that and start with the blend:
The colour is a medium honey. Young and spirity on the nose, you get honey, vanilla, green apples and raspberries. Buttered toast and salted caramel. Fresh cut grass. Fresh and inviting, but there's very immature spirit in here that gives it an unpleasant edge. Becomes more spirity with water - so I recommend keeping it at bottle strength.
On the palate the honey is lighter, with green grass, grapefruit pith, brine and more vanilla. Clean and crisp - I quite like it, more than I do the nose. Fruity, not too sweet and very approachable. Water does little here so keep it at 40%.
The finish is a little chalky with bitter green tea, white pepper and - again - honey. As far as branded entry level whiskies go, it's fine, though I wish it were a little mellower. The dominant notes of honey and fruit make it a safe choice for an introduction into whiskey. I would choose the Black Bush blend over this (it has more body and a bit of smoke to it), and any of their malts, but this will do in a pinch.