Red Bush is the latest blended whiskey offering from Bushmills. I'm quite fond of the Sherry cask matured Black Bush so I was eager to try their ex-bourbon cask offering, especially since it was on sale. I'm not sure how Red Bush compares to Bushmills Original, as I don't think I've ever had it. The Bushmills website was less than helpful, as it featured liberal use of the word "SMOOOOOOOOOTH" to describe the taste of Red Bush. I'm glad I purchased it before researching it.
- Nose (undiluted): vanilla, icing sugar, toasted oak, absolutely no spirity aromas of acetone (nail polish remover) that sometimes appear in non age-stated (i.e. young) blended whiskies. A gentle nose, but a very pleasant one.
- Palate (undiluted): light-bodied, but not thin or watery, cereal sweetness, red apple skins, more vanilla, a bit of barrel char, and a vague nuttiness; pecans, maybe.
- Finish: short to medium length, with more cereal and vanilla notes, a bit of a cream note, and a touch of maple syrup lingering at the end.
Adding water tones down some of the vanilla and oak notes. Red Bush becomes more like maple walnut (or maple pecan) ice cream with water added. It doesn't thin out as much as I expected it to. Heck, it's even good on the rocks. Sacrilege, I know. I feel like this whisky might be an ideal candidate for introducing people to sipping whisky without mixers. If I didn't know better, I'd guess this was a young-ish (6-8 years old) Single Malt whisky. Red Bush won't change your perception of whiskey, but it may change what you expect from a whiskey that's just a shade above 30 bucks here in Ontario.