Castle Brands Inc Bushmills Tasting Notes

Posted: September 7, 2011 in Bushmills, Irish Whiskey

Knappogue Castle 1994 40%

Tasted: June 2005

A clean, crisp nose, slightly grassy with cereal, vanilla oak and zesty lemon fruit. Dry on the palate with a harmonious delicacy of grassy citrus fruit, cereal, malt, light spices and bourbon oak. Very clean, balanced finish with a slight suggestion of cocoa and butterscotch left on the roof of the mouth.

Knappogue Castle 1995 (12 year old) 40%

Dist: 1995 Btl: 2007

Tasted: Nov 2012

Full and oily aromas of unsweetend pineapple chunks and oily banana skin along with some edgy barley and a herbaceous note. There is quite a bit of sweet oak vanillins but the spirit just about balances them.


A soft delivery of creamy apricot, banana and brittle toffee. The crisp, slightly spicy spirit comes through on the middle but as Jim Murray says extra oak has made inroads into the clarity of the spirit over the years as the original bottling of Knappogue Castel was designed to extol the virtues of young (8 year old) spirit. Thus this additional oak makes the finish quite bitter but in saying that it is still quite a charming dram.

Knappogue Castle 12 year old 40%

Tasted: Mar 2016

Nose: Aromatic, sweet barley and vanilla oak. Pleasantly fruity with banana, apricot, greengage, thyme, grass and citrus. With time an almost grainy Pot Still-like note appears.

Palate: Crisper and fresher to begin with, followed by the fleshy apricot, apple, banana and a touch of honey which fills it out. Beautifully balanced with hints of lime and crunchy barley.

Finish: Good crisp. Citric and mineral finish with lingering sweet barley, herbs and oak.

Conclusion: Poised, elegant and very well balanced. A lovely drop of the Irish as they say.

Knappogue Castle 14 year old Twin Wood 46%

Bourbon/ Sherry

Tasted: Apr 2015

Nose: A lovely, fresh and citric nose – Grapefruit, lime and lemon, followed by smoked meat and honey. Now that’s an odd but strangely compelling combination! Add in hints of earth and manure and……!?! The honey is luscious though!

Palate: Lightly oiled with a touch of caramel oak to begin with. It’s less citric than the nose, the oils see to that, but there is plenty of barley to offset the oak. The tannins do develop on the middle adding a touch of coffee’d spice.

Finish: Good length with lingering barley and wood spices. A little dry and dusty at the death.

Conclusion: I was hoping the ‘funkiness’ of the nose was going to follow through on to the palate, but alas it was rather conservative in the mouth. That’s not a criticism by the way, just an observation!

Knappogue Castle 16 year old Sherry Finish 40%

Tasted: Oct 2015

Nose: A full and barley’d nose with an almost rye-like herbal character. With time hints of acacia honey and castor oil coated almonds aromas appear. Quite young and pleasantly raw and citric at the edges.

Palate: Softer , rounder, gentler and less edgy than the nose would suggest. Again lightly honeyed with that rye-like herbal character being quite dominant. Hints of barley and lemon comes through on the middle.

Finish: Medium length with a pleasant, lingering citric finish.

Conclusion: It would appear to be a fairly young whisky but it has some charm. It would be interesting to see what a little more time and oak input would do for it.


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