Archive for the ‘Bushmills’ Category

Teeling Single Malt 46%

Tasted: Feb 2014

Nose: oily and sweet with some aromatic pot still spices(?) Hints of rhubarb, green fruit and herbs. Pleasantly intense with some creamy, toffee’d oak coming through.

Palate: A little watery to be honest and quite toffee’d. The dominating oak subdues the fruit somewhat.

Finish: Sweet and oaky but soft.

Teeling Revival Volume II 46%

Tasted: Oct 2016

Nose: Fresh, grassy and citric with sweet barley and a hint of orange blossom honey. Young and enticing with hints of unsweetened digestive biscuits and herbaceous notes.

Palate: Fuller and a little oilier with a touch of vanilla oak. Lovely depth of honey coated apricot and pear and the vitality returns as the citrus notes come through on the middle.

Finish: Long and citric (lime and orange) with some biting spices and dry oaky notes.

Conclusion: Wonderfully vibrant and inviting, just like an Irish girl I once knew!

Teeling Vintage Reserve 21 year old 46%

20 years maturing in American oak before being married together in ex-Sauternes barrels

Nose: Crisp, earthy and spicy with hints of peat, menthol and camphor. A little soft, almost grainy pot-still like note comes through and the camphor notes have definitely ramped up the freshness factor! An absolutely storming nose, showing some maturity and with time some coal dust and buttery vanillins.

Palate: Feels quite mature. Crisp, edgy, excitable grainy spice notes hit the tongue followed by a little dried fruit sherry richness(?). Now the moist treacle gets going along with fruit-cake character. Softly smoked and beautifully soft.

Finish: Long with the camphor and light herbal botanicals lingering and exiting with just a whiff of smoke.

Conclusion: Amazingly complex. There is just so much going on here. I’m guessing that this is possibly a vatting of malt and pot still spirit with peat and sherry.

Teeling Vintage Reserve 21 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2014

Nose: A lovely fruity nose – Tangerine, Satsuma and grapefruit. The fruit displays a lovely, natural pithy quality along with some dense, herbal honey, lightly dusty oak and a little fish oils and leafy herbs. Wonderful sweet/ sour balance which with time moves towards the sour end of the spectrum. (3.7)

Palate: Luscious, complex and juicy with candies lemon peel, orange, grapefruit, barley and lashing of manuka honey. Gentle if slightly bitter spices build towards the middle but the hjuicy fruit and honey keeps the balance amazingly well. (3.7)

Finish: A lovely, golden syrup coated citrus fruit finish. Some drying spices at the death and the after-taste is wonderfully herbal. (1.7)

Conclusion: A whisky that has come together magnificently and really grows on you.

Teeling 24 year old 46%

WWA 2016 Best Irish Single malt

Btl: Feb 2015/ Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Opens with toffee malt, coffee and butter. Hints of herbal infused baked dried fruit and developing citrus and gooseberry notes.

Palate: Juicy Oloroso fruit and hints of sweet peat with lightly syrup coated fruit, coffee and spice. Wonderfully fresh, deep and complex.

Finish: Long and gently herbal with lingering earth and coffee.

Conclusion: Quite mature but showing some amazing freshness.



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.


Bushmills 10 year old 40%

Tasted: Jan 2007

An austere nose of hard candy, crisp barley and oily toffee followed by some subtle sherry notes. Over time it becomes quite aromatic and has some delightful fruity moments. Still very oily with hints of dried fruit.

The palate starts with the subtle, soft sherry before the hard barley and toffee takes over. There is a lovely, short spice burst on the middle and a touch of menthol freshness. The finish is somewhat austere and a soupcon of bitter oaks dries it out, adding to the overwhelming sensation of sternness. However it leaves a hint of mocha and a lovely wood spice after taste. Very enjoyable and classy.

Bushmills 10 year old 40%

Score: 8.8

Nose: Deep and broad, opening with dense pineapple, banana and oak. The aromas become crisper as the crunchy barley and herbal fresh stony notes appear followed by some perfumed white fruit. In fact it becomes very perfumed with time. (3.7)

Palate: Extremely soft, opening with gentle oak and spices. Not quite as broad as the nose but the toffee coated white fruit, banana and pineapple is pleasant. More oilier and less mineral than the nose (3.4)

Finish: Long and quite fresh as the minerality appears. (1.7)

Conclusion: Superb nose, although the oak clamps down a bit on the palate.

Bushmills 16 year old ‘Three Woods’ 40%

Bourbon/ Oloroso, finished in Port/ Tasted: May 2012

A wonderfully deep, juicy and earthy nose leading off with some ripe, red berry fruit along with hints of gooseberry , peppery spice and fern. There is a touch of nutty, marzipan coated apricot and lush sherry beneath. A very complex and ever changing nose! Now there’s a touch of stewed fruit, sweet barley, bracken and some late American oak vanilla. A lovely combination of aromas from the three casks, all in perfect symmetry.

The palate is lushous and juicy with some earthy barley leading off. There is no shortage of American oak and it does start to bitter a touch but the juicy sherry laced fruit sees that off. The port adds some delightful red fruit at the edge. A touch of natural caramel/ toffee does dampens the finish, but those spices are absolutely gorgeous and linger, taking ones mind off the dampening toffee.

Bushmills 16 year old ‘Three Woods’ 40%

Score: 9.1

Nose: Gently smoked and very winey with earthy red fruit, pomegranate and a touch of perfumed cherry. Slightly herbal with a touch of menthol, toffee. Extremely complex with what appears to be some sherried, rich fruit cake later. (3.7)

Palate: Soft and silky, opening with a lightly syrup coated red fruit, redcurrant jelly, damson and plums. It evolves beautifully as some crisp barley and vanilla appear on the middle along with some dried fruit and edgy spices. (3.7)

Finish: Long and winey with a lovely, almost tart citrus note freshening the finish along with lingering menthol and sweet spice notes. (1.7)

Conclusion: Have multiple casks been used here? If that is the case then they are all perfect harmony. (tasted blind)

Bushmills 21 Years Old 40%

Tasted: Feb 2012

A Full and juicy nose with a touch of malt extract and tar. Some mature fruit mingles with chicory and fennel. Quite edgy and brittle some seriously heavy spice notes developing.

The palate is soft and caramel sweet. Rather oak dominated and toffee’d. Good length with a pleasant spice burst but the oak returns. Conclusion: Quite a pleasant, shy nose, which takes a while to open but a rather caramel flattened palate.

Bushmills 21 year old 40%

19 years in both Bourbon and Oloroso, finished for 2 years in Madeira.

Bt No: 5565/ Re-Tasted: June 2012

Pungent aromas of dried grape and sweet barley to kick off.  Marvellously mature and fragrant with the American oak coming through with a touch of sweet vanilla. Seriously complex with the American oak definitely showing some maturity. With time some dusty cinnamon and nutmeg appears along with a touch of coffee bean.

The palate opens with the luscious, sweet sherry and dried Madeira grape entwined with the lovely, sweet, American oak. Gentle spices meander through, joined by the classic Bushmills, grainy nip. Lovely length with hints of chocolate coated raisin and gentle, dried spices. However the finish is all about the crisp spirit. Wonderfully balanced and showing a lot better than the last time I tasted it!