Bushmills Black Bush


This global simultaneous review of the Bushmills Black Bush from the Old Bushmills distillery was an idea initiated by Johanne McInnis, the @Whiskylassie herself. We are more then 20 bloggers from around the world to be reviewing the same whiskey and publishing the resulting blog or vlog for the St-Patrick’s day 2013.

Having a Irish grandmother myself, it is with great pride and joy that I decided to join the mob.

Irish whiskey came to the world along with the Irish diaspora running away from the emerald isle following the Great Famine of Ireland of the 1840s. But most whiskey scholars agree that distillation came to Scotland from Ireland. So it predates the Gorta Mór by many years.

Old Bushmills

Old Bushmills Distillery
By: colddayforpontooningCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Old Bushmills distillery from which comes this whiskey is from a region that has sustained a distillery from over 400 years, thus the 1608 date that is dominant on most of their bottling. Not that the distillery itself is that old, far from it. It is part of Diageo, and as such, produces great whiskeys, that are not receiving enough attention by them.

I say great, and i mean it. All of them are just so well blended and put together, that the fact that some are blends and some are single malts is, honestly, second to the quality of the liquid. My only quibbles is that they should all be bottled at a higher strength ABV, and that chill-filtration should be avoided. Here’s my review of the regular and 10 YO.

Black Bush

But, let’s jump into the one that interest us today: the Black Bush. Matured for up to 7 years in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks and bourbon barrels, this Irish Blended whiskey contains a very high proportion of malt (80%). Although not distributed in Quebec, I have often drunk this in the various Irish pubs of Montreal. But, strangely enough, I have never put down in writing my tasting notes for it. The bottle of Black Bush I am reviewing today was brought back from Ontario from a friend. I sells currently for less than 35$ at the LCBO, which makes it even more compelling.

The nose is full of malty sherry, with dark chocolate and that signature Bushmills slightly metallic leather note. We can feel the fruity barley with some clove and a touch of vanilla toffee. It is quite a bit darker and spicier than the standard Bushmills blend or the 10.

On the tongue, the arrival if soft, smooth, velvety with some light syrup. Then, we get some spicy leather, with cedar, dry fruits and orange peel. What a nice creamy body, the mouth feel reminds me of a good corn whiskey.

The final shows blood orange, honey, white pepper, wild cherries and sherry. And it last quite some time, especially for an Irish whiskey.
This is a well put together whiskey. The malt and the grain whiskeys are prettily integrated, the latter providing a list to the body. That creaminess and spiciness really shows how smooth Irish whiskey can really benefit from the added complexity of sherry wood. A clean fruity malt with some depth.

This Black Bush is one hell of a good Irish whiskey. Its dark complexity and the way the grain is there to make the malt creamier, not to cheapen the whole, is just fantastic. Is it my favorite of the range? No, the 1608 is. But, it’s one of the best bang-for-your-buck sipper out there. At least for this Irish descendent…

P.S. Although great for sipping, I would hesitate in using this in my Irish Coffee. I find that the pure pot still kick of Jameson or Powers complements better the dark vegetal note of a good coffee. BTW, i usually use Costa Rican or Mexican bean, as their fruity notes just blends so well with the malty notes of the whiskey.

Irish coffee at Sunakashi Coffee right
By: Michal SängerCC BY-NC-SA 2.0



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