Whiskey Tasting: An introduction to Bushmills Malts

Recently we held an Introduction to Bushmills Malts here at Garavan’s Bar with Seamus Lorwy of the Bushmills Whiskey and our very own Niamh Walsh.

Attendees were treated to four beautiful Bushmills malts, considered one of Irish whiskeys great unsung heroes!

First up, guests sampled the 10 year malt. This has been the standard single malt release from Bushmills for many years now. Drawn from triple distilled malt, the whiskey is aged in both bourbon and sherry casks. However this sherry cask taste is quite subtle and the overall taste is light and delicate. Tasters enjoyed this whiskey and felt it was a nice malt to start with due to the creamy and light mouth feel. When asked about flavours, guests said they could taste vanilla, chocolate, honey and cereal.

Next up Niamh and Seamus spoke about the 16 year malt. This distinctive whiskey is actually aged in a combination of Oloroso Sherry and Bourbon casks before being matured for several months in port wine barrels. This unique maturation leads to nice distinctive notes of juicy fruits, nuts and spice. Several people commented in the robust scent of sweet spice and treacle. Seamus explained how the 16 year old is full bodied with hints of honey, carmelised fruits and toasted nuts. The whiskey has a nice deep finish with dark chocolate and interesting berry notes!

On to the 21 year malt…a very popular choice with our guests! This is the oldest whiskey in the standard distillery range. Considering its age, it is a very fresh and lively tasting malt. Seamus explained how like the other malts this was initially aged in both bourbon and sherry casks. They are then vatted together and married into madeira wine casks for two years. It has a delicate feel and strikes a good balance of spice, fruit and sweetness.

 Our second last whiskey of the night was an interesting one. The Bushmills Steamship Sherry Cask. This limited edition whiskey is available exclusively in travel retail! The sherry cask reserve combines traditional Irish whiskey making craft with intercontinental flavours. The whiskey collection was inspired by the voyages of the SS Buhmills steamship, which marked the 126th anniversary of its maiden voyage last year. In 1890 the ship, commissioned by The Boyd Brothers, left for America, travelling as far as Philadelphia and Yokohama, before returning with casks of rum, fortified wine and bourbon.The sherry cask reserve is matured in Oloroso sherry butts to give that additional spiced honey, dried fruit and dark chocolate flavours. After the tasting many guests have added it to the top of their list of things to purchase next time they are on their travels!

As a final gift, Seamus and Niamh poured guests some cask strength sherry finish. This was very special due to the fact it came directly from a cask in the Bushmills Distillery. It even had a white label on it, so you cannot buy this whikskey! Very exclusive indeed.

 The night finished with guests comparing their favourite whiskeys and chatting amongst friends. It is fair to say everyone left with a newfound love of Bushmills Malts!

 A big thanks to Seamus Lowry and Niamh Walsh who conducted the tasting and to everyone who came along. Be sure to watch some of the highlights in the below video!