Bushmills 10-year-old single malt whiskey (40% ABV)
Star rating: 4/5
Bushmills are one of the most famous brands in Irish whiskey, if not spirits in general, and lay claim to being not only the oldest distillery in Ireland, but the oldest whiskey distillery in the world.
Whilst some pedants might note that the company itself didn’t come into existence until 1784, 1608 being the date King James VI/I gave a licence to distil to the contemporary landowner, you’re still looking at a very long pedigree.
Based in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, Bushmills are proud of the fact that they only use malted barley, and triple distil their spirit.
The 10-year-old single malt is one of Bushmills’ core offerings, and is keenly priced when compared to many whiskies of a similar age.
As you’d imagine, it’s a blend of their whiskies aged for at least ten years in bourbon and oloroso sherry casks. This one from Bushmills eschew the stronger bottlings of many of the independent outfits, so this is a ‘mere’ 40% abv.
It’s packaged in that iconic squared-off bottle, with the famous label in a darker hue than the original. The liquid itself is a pleasing full gold colour.
It has a refined nose, with a light-bodied sweetness, tart apple notes and swathes of banana and smooth vanilla. There’s a light fudgy undertone, with pepper and a touch of cinnamon.
While this is a light whiskey, there is a fair amount going on. So too, with the palate, as the vanilla comes in on a smooth, clean malt arrival, the fruity apple blends with juicier mango and apricot and finishes with a little touch of sherry.
The finish is quick, with a little neutral wood and some pepper. As mentioned on the nose, this is a light, subtle whiskey. While its sibling, Black Bush, leans into the sherry flavours more, this is a great advert for an all-malt Irish whiskey.
Given its subtlety and smoothness, this needs no water to lighten it or open it up, though a large ice cube on a hot day might not go amiss.
That gentleness also recommends itself to mixing in cocktails in a way that brasher whiskies don’t, but perhaps just a whiskey and ginger – one part Bushmills to three-four parts ginger ale, built in a highball glass filled with ice and finished with a squeeze of lime – is all you need.
More on whiskey
Discover over 400 buyer’s guides including the best whiskies to buy as a gift, or more reviews like our favourite rye whiskey in our reviews section. Do you have an Irish whiskey you love? Share your product suggestions with us below…
This review was last updated in March 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.