Waterford Whiskey Society welcomed the Bushmills Distillery for the September tasting which was all online. This was a slightly different event as it was run by the committee as unfortunately no one was available from the distillery to attend for various reasons.
It made for an interesting discussion between all the members and in one way was more interactive as everyone joined in on the conversation.
The license was first granted to make whiskey in Co. Antrim in 1608. But the Bushmills Distillery didn’t become official until 1784. Hugh Anderson registered the distillery at this time and the Pot Still became the registered trademark. Still used today to denote quality and distinction.
The Old Bushmills Distillery is owned by Casa Cuervo. Bushmills Distillery uses water drawn from Saint Columb's Rill, which is a tributary of the River Bush. The distillery is a popular tourist attraction, with around 120,000 visitors per year.
Bushmills has changed hands in terms of its parent firm over the last few years. Formerly owned by Diageo, in 2014 it was announced that Jose Cuervo would take over ownership of the Co Antrim business and distillery. The plans for expansion at Bushmills are sizeable. In total, it represents a £60m investment that will see the distillery expand significantly, including in its warehousing to grow its stock and ability to age.
According to the latest accounts for The Old Bushmills Distillery, turnover has risen to £43.4m for the year ending December 2019. That’s up from £33.6m a year earlier. During that period, profits have also risen substantially – up more than 30% to around £8.9m.
Bushmills Distillery Reserve 12 year single malt – exclusively available at the Old Bushmills Distillery, this 12 year aged single malt is matured in oak casks for a rich, complex flavour with notes of sherry, dark chocolate and spices.
Bushmills 16 year single malt – €95 - Malt whiskeys aged at least 16 years in American bourbon barrels or Spanish Oloroso sherry butts are mixed together before finishing in Port pipes for about a year. This unique maturation process gives the single malt its distinct notes of juicy fruits, nuts and spice, as well as a hint of ruby redness.
Bushmills 21 year single malt – €175 - A limited number of 21 year bottles are made each year. After 19 years, bourbon-barrel-aged and sherry-cask-aged malt whiskeys are combined, which is followed by two years of finishing in Madeira drums. Dried fruit flavours, with a spicy, aromatic maltiness and subtle raisin notes.
Bushmills Distillery Exclusive – Acacia - €89 - @47% its is first matured in charred bourbon barrels and toasted sherry casks, then carefully aged in acacia wood for more than a year. Subtly spiced by the casks with warming hints of nutmeg. Honey and floral notes complemented by sweet vanilla and dried fruit flavours, finishing with a hint of cinnamon and wood.
Steamship Collection – Rum Cask – €120 - matured in first fill Caribbean rum casks to give flavours of tropical fruit, subtle spice, vanilla pod and coffee.
Bushmills 10YO Travel Retail - @46% - Shery finish 1L bottles circa €75
This was a fantastic and varied tasting, and all expressions went down well on the night. It was generally agreed that while most people like the Bushmills brand some of their expressions are released at 40% which doesn’t allow for the full quality of the whiskey to sine through. When tasting the 10YO at 46% is was great to see how much it improved over the standard 10. Also it was generally felt that the Causeway Collection has really helped to drive the brand and showcase some of the amazing whisky that they produce.
The Whiskeys tasted:
· Bushmills 16 YO Single Malt @ 40%
· Bushmills 21 YO Single Malt @ 40%
· Distillery Exclusive Acacia @ 47%
· Travel Retail 10 YO @ 46%
· Steamship Rum Cask @ 40%
All the be