Bushmills Irish Honey Review

“No Man’s Land”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Bushmills Irish Honey
Type: Whiskey containing Irish Honey and other Natural Flavours.
Age: NAS
Alcohol: 35%
Whisky Review # 541.

Colour: Pale Gold 

Nose: Young, Fruity and Mellow. The first thing that calls the attention is the fact that this smells like a Whisky rather than a Whisky Liqueur. The Honey is present of course but it remains nicely in the background. As it should be in my opinion. I find Sweet Barley and other Sugared Cereals, Toast and Margarine, Vanilla, Grass, Heather-Honey, Tangerine, Lemon, Banana Ice Cream, Sweet Apple, Varnish and a touch of Cinnamon. The Alcohol is not totally integrated. This is certainly the best part of this Bushmills.    

Palate: Young and Thin. On the Palate and in the Finish the Honey is much more present than on the Nose. I also find Young Grain Alcohol, Sugared Breakfast Cereals like Snowflakes, Apple, Tangerine, Lemon, Vanilla, light Pepper and light Cinnamon. A little Oak in the background. 

Finish: Short and Thin. Sugary Sweet at first but with a slight Bitterness towards the end. Some Sour notes as well. I find Honey, Young Grain Alcohol, Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Dough, light Vanilla, light Cinnamon, light Pepper and hints of Orchard Fruit, Oak and Lemon. 

Added Water does not improve this Bushmills. You can add some Ice if you like.                                                            
Rating: 74 (Whisky Liqueur Note)  

Nose: 20 – Taste: 18 – Finish: 17.5 – Overall: 18.5

General Remarks: Bushmills was founded in 1784 and ownership changed a couple of times over the years. It was bought in 2005 by Diageo and it made sense that they too wanted to be part of the growing market for Irish Whiskey. But in a surprising move Diageo sold Bushmills to well known Tequila producer Casa Cuervo in 2014. In this deal Diageo a/o acquired the remaining 50% of Cuervo's second Tequila brand "Don Julio". Could it be that Diageo is impressed by its declining Whisky sales? Bushmills Irish Honey was launched around 2012 as an attempt to enter the growing Flavoured Whisky market following brands like a/o Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace. It is a blend of the well-known Bushmills Original, Irish Water, Irish Honey and additional, non-specified natural flavour components. It's not really expensive at around 25 US Dollars (May 2016). 

Drinking Experience Neat: Below Average. Okay with some Ice.

Conclusion: The Bushmills Irish Honey certainly differs from its American peers. It's a lot less Sweet and on the Nose it is a whisky for sure and not a liqueur. I was disappointed by the Palate and Finish though. Quite Weak and Thin. Here the American peers are certainly tastier if you are into Sweet Flavoured Whisky.
The Bushmills Irish Honey struggles quite a bit with its identity taste wise.  In my opinion it's neither a true Whiskey nor a Whiskey Liqueur. It situates itself somewhere in no man's land and that's a dangerous place to be in as far as I am concerned.

Jan van den Ende                                                                     May 23, 2016

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