Bushmills Relaunches 16-, 21-Year-Old Irish Whiskeys

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story reflected the fact these whiskeys are new products. They are, in fact, annual small batch editions. The Whiskey Wash regrets the error.

Bushmills Irish Whiskey, being Ireland’s oldest working distillery, has on its hands a fair amount of older whiskey stock available for bottling. It is from this stock the distillery has drawn two small batch releases for their annual relaunch, both of which are over 15 years of age and described as being in “the ultra-premium end of the Irish whiskey category.”

The Bushmills 16-Year-Old and Bushmills 21-Year-Old, according to Bushmills, herald from “a small select number of casks” of the distillery’s triple-distilled whiskey. The 16-year-old “has been aged for at least 16 years in a combination of Bourbon casks and Oloroso Sherry butts, before being vatted and married for nine months in large old Port pipes.” It is also already well recognized by judges, having “won more than two dozen gold awards in international competitions.”

image via Bushmills Irish Whiskey

image via Bushmills Irish Whiskey

Alongside of it is the 21-Year-Old, described as the “jewel in the crown of the Old Bushmills Distillery.” It was matured in ex-American oak bourbon barrels and old Oloroso Sherry casks for at least 19 years, before a further two years of being married in Madeira wine casks. It has also been well received by judges, with a “string of international awards to its name” as well as being named Best Irish Single Malt in Jim Murray’s 2017 Whisky Bible.

“To craft malts of this age and quality calls for all our expertise and knowledge,” said Colum Egan, master distiller at Bushmills Irish Whiskey, in a prepared statement. “By carefully nurturing a small number of casks in our warehouses so that they age in the optimal conditions, we can draw layers of exquisite flavours from the wood, ensuring they are perfectly balanced with the unique distillery character of the unique Bushmills spirit made from 100% malted Irish barley.”

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Official tasting notes for both are below from Bushmills.

Bushmills 16 Year Old

Nose: Honeyed almonds, vanilla oakiness and delicate port wine notes.

Palate: Unique complexity, honeyed, nutty maltiness; toasted wood; sweet port wine flavours.

Finish:  Deep, sweet wine and fruit.

Bushmills 21 Year Old

Nose: Honeyed malt, wood, raisins, dark chocolate and a hint of mint.

Palate:  Wonderfully complex: mellow maltiness, wood, raisins, toffee sweetness, spice, vanilla and dark chocolate; hints of mint and leather.

Finish:  Lingering, with a slightly dry maltiness, wood and raisins.


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