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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

March 17, 2015


A few Bushmills, some perhaps putative
(and since today's Saint Patrick)

It seems that I haven’t tried the official Bushmills malts since 2010, but I’ve tried some indies! Let’s start with the official aperitifs…

Bushmills 16 yo (40%, OB, Irish single malt, +/-2014) Three stars So, last time I tried the 16 that was four years ago. I had liked it. It’s matured in ‘three woods’. Colour: dark gold. Nose: hyper-mega fruity, as expected. Would make a 1976 Benriach nose like an Octomore in comparison. Quite. And it’s also very Irish, with these sweet metallic notes (copper?) and the touches of slightly sour mango compote. Other than that, it’s banana and guava galore. Mouth: very easy, very fruity. It’s a rather light body but it does sing and has got some oily texture, bizarrely. Bananas and guavas again, plus a touch of litchi and then rather more oak than I expected. Strong rosehip tea, sour apples, green apricots, cinnamon. Finish: relatively short. More rosehip tea with bits of dried guavas and grated cinnamon. A touch of beer in the aftertaste. Comments: very fine, only the 40% make it a little, say flabby. Score unchanged. SGP:740 - 82 points.

Bushmills 21 yo (40%, OB, Madeira finish, +/-2014)

Bushmills 21 yo (40%, OB, Madeira finish, +/-2014) Three stars Another one that I always quite liked. Colour: full gold. Nose: same family, obviously, but this one’s a little grassier, fatter (apparently), with some white chocolate, sunflower oil, then rather light honey, touches of ripe bananas, flowers (peonies, lilies of the valley)… A touch of earth as well. I find this pretty elegant and nicely balanced. No wine sings loud, as they say around 5am. Mouth: we’re closer to the 16, with this leafiness that mingles well with the fruits. That may be accentuated by the Madeira, not too sure. And indeed there are walnuts and almonds, then a touch of mint (drops) and tobacco. Finish: the length’s okay, on strawberry jam and spicy chutneys, the aftertaste is a notch bitter (strong tea again). Comments: not too sure a 21yo should still be bottled at 40% vol., it’s great spirit but it’s a little frustrating because of that. SGP:651 - 82 points.

We should try to find a Bushmills at cask strength and of similar strength, I think…

Columban of Iona 23 yo 1991/2014 (57.5%, The Stillman’s, Irish single malt, bourbon barrel, 231 bottles)

Columban of Iona 23 yo 1991/2014 (57.5%, The Stillman’s, Irish single malt, bourbon barrel, 231 bottles) Five stars You know the story about St. Columban/Colomba/Colombus, don’t you. All genuine, with pristine records! ;-). I should add that The Stillman’s have already impressed us with another indie Bushmills last year. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a smoky one, and it’s big, and yet it’s very elegant, while remaining big. Fantastic notes of smoked oils, fresh asparagus (I said fresh ones), fresh walnuts and almonds, sweet smoked barley and then something that I love, argan oil. A nose unlike any other. With water: the fruits and flowers come out while the peat is toned down. A bit. Mouth (neat): totally impressive. There are other light and fruity peat monsters, especially in Scotland’s mainland, but I’m not sure they’ve got this depth and complexity. I had never thought you could smoke bananas and mangos ;-). I knew about almonds. With water: same phenomenon, more fruits, less peat. Balance remains perfect. Finish: long and very fresh, with what they call a salty tang. Comments: two whiskies in one, great! Without water, almost Ardbeg (I said almost) and with water, Bushmills! Exceptional selection by our Swiss friends. SGP:664 - 91 points.

Another quick one…

Irish Single Malt 2003/2014 (49.5, Whisky-Fässle, hogshead)

Irish Single Malt 2003/2014 (49.5, Whisky-Fässle, hogshead) Two stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: ultra-clean, leafy and ‘greenly’ fruity. Banana skins, apple peelings, then bonbons and Haribo stuff. A bit young, perhaps. Funny notes of aquavit and caraway after five minutes. Mouth: same feeling of aquavit, genepy and kummel. That’s fun! Also some banana liqueur, ginger liqueur. It’s not quite natural banana that’s everywhere in the background, rather this confectionary called, I believe, Allens Bananas or Banana Splitz or Banana Lollies or Candy Bananas… Whatever, it’s very regressive anyway. Some William pears too. And pear bonbons, of course. Finish: quite long and very pearish. Amyl acetate everywhere. Comments: whisky for kids, that’s fun (they’ll put me into jail for writing these kinds of things one day). an unusual bottling by the otherwise always immaculate Fässle. I'm not sure this is Bushmills BTW. SGP:830 - 78 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Irish I've tasted so far







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