Whiskey Review: Bushmills Distillery Exclusive Matured in Acacia Wood - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Bushmills Distillery Exclusive Matured in Acacia Wood

By Jeneen Bell / February 8, 2019

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Bushmills. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

Bushmills recently released a distillery exclusive bottling, meaning it can only be purchased at the distillery in Northern Ireland. If you won’t be going that way anytime soon, you might not feel the need to keep reading. However, if you enjoy what happens before bottling then you’ll be interested to hear about the barrels used for this distillery exclusive. One of the things that makes this whiskey so different is the acacia barrel aging.

The whiskey is first matured in charred ex-bourbon barrels and toasted ex-sherry casks, and then aged in acacia wood for more than a year. This is the first time Bushmills has released any whiskey matured in acacia wood.

Acacia wood is used in the wine industry more than whiskey, with winemakers using it mostly for texture. It has been shown that the acacia barrels add body and texture without adding heavy flavors. French acacia has been used for many years for white wine, for example. The wood may shape the whiskey to taste fresher and fruitier, de-emphasizing some of the oak influence. Acacia wood also typically has fewer tannins than oak.

We all know wood is a major factor in the taste of whiskey. It’s exciting to see how much barrel experimentation is happening everywhere. But for this whiskey, I appreciate how the bourbon and sherry casks have imparted rich flavors into this whiskey, while the acacia added to the well rounded mouth feel. Acacia barrels are rare for whiskey, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more soon.

This whiskey is more refined in my opinion than the Bushmills core range. The core range tends to be what I drink after a hard day, not when focusing on taste. Not having tasted Bushmills high end range much, it’s difficult to compare. I do enjoy other high end Irish whiskey and would put this in that category.

Bushmills Distillery Exclusive Matured in Acacia Wood

Bushmills Distillery Exclusive Matured in Acacia Wood (image via Bushmills)

Tasting Notes: Bushmills Distillery Exclusive Matured in Acacia Wood

Vital Stats: non-chill filtered, 47% ABV, single malt, distilled 2008, bottled 2018, RRP of £74 (US$95), 700 ml.

Appearance: Burnished copper color in the iconic square bottle with black and copper label.

Nose: It definitely smells like an Irish whiskey. First impressions reveal sherry, peach, and dark dried fruits aromas. With a hint of honey it smells like quite a sweet treat.

Palate: The taste is fruity and floral, with hints honey and vanilla. It has a long finish lingering on the tongue.

The Takeaway


Bottle strength works well - I didn't find adding water to enhance the flavors. I really enjoyed this whiskey. If I were to travel to Northern Ireland soon, I'd pick up a bottle and take my time finishing it.

User Rating 5 (1 vote)


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