The Old Bushmills Distillery was established in 1784 and is the oldest continuously operating and still operating distillery in Northern Ireland. The year 1608 in the bottle means that the distillery was then authorized to distill whiskey. The distillery burned down in 1885, but it was quickly rebuilt and has been operating without interruption ever since. The distillery has had several different owners throughout history, in 1988 it was bought by Pernod Ricard and in 2004 it was sold to Diageo, the world’s largest alcohol producer. Diageo spent a lot of money marketing the Bushmill name and partly for that reason it is well available all over the world. In 2015, Diageo sold it in exchange for Jose Cuervo.
Bushmills Original is a blend of malt whiskey aged for at least three years (5 years according to some sources) and grain whiskey, which is obtained from the Middletown distillery in Cork. All distillates are distilled three times. Bushmills are bottled in stylish rectangular bottles, of which a 50cl costs about € 14 in Estonia.
Bushmills is a very thinly yellowish in color, so one would assume that there is not much caramel color added. The nose is light. A little honey and vanilla, very light spiciness. The taste is also light, but also quite pungent. I admit that at the time of writing this, the bottle has been open for a very long time, nearly three years. After the opening, the taste was clearly stronger, more alcoholic and drier, but now, after a long oxidation, it has become more sweet and smooth. It has honey and vanilla, dry apple, a little bitterness of grapefruit or other citrus fruits. It has a somewhat watery and wooden taste. It gets the impression that the malt whiskey used in the blend would be just stuff, but a large dose of straightforward grain whiskey dilutes the aromas too much. The Bushmills Original is a light, slightly honeyed and fruity, young and rather pungent. Not very pleasant to sip neat, but it works well in Irish Coffee and other cocktails as well as Jameson or other basic line Irish whiskeys.