Bushmills Black Bush Review

Country: Ireland
Brand: Bushmills Black Bush
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: NAS (Probably around 8-10 years for the Malt content)
Alcohol: 40%

Colour: Golden

Nose: It's Triple-Distilled and it shows. Quite clean, crisp and relatively light Nose with Malt, Buttered Toast with Black Currant Marmalade, Lemon, Dried Fruits, Grass, Straw, Oak, Apples, Toasted Corn, Vanilla Toffee, light Alcohol and hints of Sherry, Banana and White Grapes. You have to dig a bit for the Fruit but it's quite nice when you find it. There is a slight Metallic feeling to the Nose but not as noticeable as in the regular Bushmills.

Taste: A bit Thin, slightly Metallic and quite Spicy with Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom and Cloves. There's also Honey, Malt, Sherry, Butter, Cocoa, Biscuits, Nuts, Oak, Licorice, Lemon and a hint of Milk. Never got that before!

Finish: Rather short and a bit sugary with Biscuits, Grapefruit, Nuts, Oak, Licorice, Caramel, Apricot and Spices like Nutmeg, Cloves and Cardamom.

A few drops of Water take the raw edges of the Nose. But Palate and Finish are just watered down.

Rating: 82.5 

Nose:  21.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 21

General Remarks:  The Old Bushmills Distillery is located in the Antrim County in Northern Ireland. Since 2005 it's owned by the Diageo Group. In 1608 a licence to distill was granted by King James I which makes Bushmills the oldest licensed Distillery. That's why the year 1608 is printed on the label. The Distillery produces a whole range of Bushmills expressions including the Original or White Label as it's often referred to, the 10, 12, 16 and 21 Years Single Malts and the Special Edition 1608, released in 2008 to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of Legal Distilling at Bushmills. The Black Bush is a Blend of Malt - (80%) and Grain (20%) Whiskies. It is Triple-Distilled and matured in Ex-Bourbon (Grain) and Ex-Oloroso (Malt) Casks. It's not expensive at around 35 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: It's a step up from the regular White but not by a whole lot. The Nose is the best part with lots of Malt, Toast, Lemon and hidden Fruits. Be sure to nose this dram from every angle. There's quite some Alcohol in the middle of the glass. Taste and Finish are quite Spicy and I'm not a fan of Licorice and Metallic Notes. It' s not a bad Whiskey for sure but also not one I will drink on a regular basis. I guess that, with a few exceptions like the Redbreast 12 , Irish whiskies are just not my favourite drams.

Jan van den Ende                                                                March 15, 2013


Pyae Phyo said...

Hi Jan, I'm trying Irish for the first time with Black Bush and Redbreast 12. I enjoyed both and think they are underrated compared with Scotch. I agree with your review on the nose part and I found that the taste and finish are really fine and balanced though the ABV is not so promising (In no doubt, Redbreast 12 is better and it needs some time for BB to let the grain alcohol and metallic note go away). They are better options compared to higher priced young NAS single malts.

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi Pyae Phyo, thanks for commenting. Glad you liked your first Irish experience. I'm not a huge fan of triple distilled spirits in general but I like the Redbreast 12 as well. It's true that the better Irish can beat some of the average Scotch standard NAS malts, especially the Travel Retail stuff.