Irish Whiskey is spelled with an “e” rather than the Scottish spelling without the “e” (“whisky”). Why is this? In the mid 1800s, much of the Scottish produced product was, frankly, nasty stuff. However, Ireland was producing lighter, higher quality product – and started to use an “e” in the spelling because they didn’t want to associate with the other nasty “whisky” being produced. At this time, more Irish whisky was drunk in Scotland than other whiskies.
Bushmills is a distillery in the north – Northern Ireland, in fact (the only major Irish whisky producer not in Southern Ireland), and it triple distills its product, producing much whisky from malt rather than a mix of unmalted and malted barley (i.e., “pure pot still”) like many other Irish distilleries. This whisky is triple distilled, which will lend a lighter character to the spirit, and it is a blend, containing a mix of malt and grain whiskies.
Nose: Lots of apples come off at first. There’s also a fascinating interplay of grassy vegetal notes and toffee. The vegetal characteristic combined with the fruitiness in the nose leads to aromas much reminiscent of honeydew melons. Malt, honey, candied orange peel, light bourbon aromas, and a light oaky presence are also in the mix – with the nose overall smelling quite sweet. At times there’s a bit of a menthol feel and a bit of bitterness. 26/30 (87%)
Taste: Doesn’t quite deliver the promises of the nose, and not as sweet as I had expected. Vanilla, and a good kick of barley and malt at the end. Honey is there also, with the same grassy and vegetal character. Lots of toffee (think Werther’s). Light and short – but quite pleasing. 25/30 (83%)
Finish: A bit of barley carries the finish forward with light spices, coconut, baked apples and barley with quite a nutty character. A bit of unfortunate bitterness comes through on this. Unfortunately, the bitterness seems to grow rather than diminish with time. 16/20 (80%)
Conclusion: Really this is quite high quality stuff, and I think is terrific value for what you get especially if you like lighter fruity malts. A fruit driven malt, this one. Toffee and grassy as well. Very pleasant, and a very nice entry-level blend, I must say. 17/20 (85%)