I read online that more than 13 million glasses of Guinness are consumed on St Patrick’s Day - a staggering 4.29 million litres – easily enough for one glass for every single person living in Belgium, or indeed two Olympic-sized swimming pools. Whilst the black stuff remains the drink of choice for most revellers, the resurgence of the Irish whiskey industry means that it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that a fair number of Irish whiskies were consumed over the weekend. Never one to feel left out, I had a group of friends over for a ‘bring your own’ blind tasting of all things Irish whiskey. In amongst the single pot stills, blends and malts was this little gem – Bushmills 21 year old.
The 21 year old is at the top of the Bushmills standard range. It’s a single malt that has been triple distilled and then matured in three different casks - whiskies are drawn from ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso sherry casks and are then married together in ex-madeira casks for two years of finishing. Like all of the Bushmills core range, it’s bottled at 40% ABV. The price of this one varies greatly depending on where you are in the world – likewise, it has been steadily increasing over the last few years. Currently, you’ll need to find a cool £168.66 to purchase this from Master of Malt here in the UK. Yikes.
Nose: Immediate pronounced fruitiness – overripe mangos, guavas, bananas and oranges with underripe apples, pears and apricots. These are supported by nuances from creamy vanilla custard, and some lovely herbal and grassiness – mint leaves and nettles. There’s just a touch of minerality here – wet steel and copper coins. Very inviting indeed.
Taste: The fruitiness continues with the aforementioned jumble of tropical and orchard fruits, but is now joined by a scattering of berries – both red and black (offering some light sherry nuttiness – almonds in particular - and fresh golden tobacco). Sweetness from toffee and heathery honey merges well with malty undertones and delicate spicing – cinnamon, ginger and just a tiny pinch of salt. Steeliness is still present, as are both mint and nettles – indeed, the ‘leafiness’ feels even greater than on the nose.
Finish: Long in length and delivering both sweet and bitter notes (in a very balanced manner) - sugary stone fruits and berries – bitter steeped tea, oak and nuts.
Bushmills 21 year old is first-rate whiskey that conveys all the traditional Irish fruitiness you’d expect. But, it also offers interesting deeper aromas and flavours that derive from its two-year sherry finish – pronounced richness, juxtaposing of sweetness with bitterness and captivating herbal/grassy touches. I often find that 40% ABV bottlings don’t deliver as much flavour and texture as I’d personally like, but this one proves to be an exception – fruitiness and creaminess are abound. Yes, I like this a lot. It’s therefore a bit of a shame that the price point is moving skywards so steadily. I purchased it for around £90 a couple of years ago – were it still at that price I’d be heartily recommending you all endeavour to buy a bottle. Now you’re looking at close to double – and that becomes much harder to commend.
But don't take our word for it..
We don't have any links to other reviews for this bottle. Let us know if you have one. Click here
Thank you for adding your link. We will review your link within 48 hours.