While being the oldest licensed distillery in the world – granted by King James I in 1608 – the Old Bushmills Distillery is also the only operating whiskey distillery left in Northern Ireland. You would think that having 406 years in mastering the art of whiskey-making would generate pretty damn good whiskey!?
I want to start off by stating that I SIMPLY LOVE the 16 year old Bushmills! I think it had me even before I opened the bottle with its mouthwatering text, “Aged in oloroso sherry and bourbon casks, then finished in port wine casks for a combination of rich fruitiness and malty nutiness”. I must stress however that this Irish Single Malt is not for everyone. I have had friends that were not too impressed with the taste. You may argue that they weren’t “experienced” enough but in the end it all comes down to the subjectivity of taste. Personally I have never come across a whisk(e)y like this (or even close). Like with all unique flavor profiles you either love it or hate it.
What makes the 16 year old Bushmills so special in my opinion is the remarkable synergy that has been achieved by combining two completely different flavor profiles. On the one hand you have mahogany wood, earthiness and Hazelnuts. Then on the other you have black currents, caramel, fudge, peaches and hints of vanilla. All these different notes work so well together and form an extraordinary experience. On top of all this the finish is very very very long.
VERDICT: Not many whiskeys can boast about being matured in three different casks. The end result is a very unique whiskey with a myriad of flavors were you get the best from both worlds. The Bushmills 16yo does not get the attention it deserves in my opinion and I can highly recommend it.