Bushmills 21

Bushmills 21 2.jpg

So I’m back, on a different day, at a different place. I may or may not have been bouncing around Dublin and we may be hungry and my wife may be hitting “needs a gin and tonic” o’clock.

It was time to try a different whiskey bar. One that had food this time. And according to them, over 100 whiskies.

But remember what I said before: They can brag about over 100 whiskies, and then… not be ready for whiskey nerds.

Yeah, no glencairns, no brandy snifters, and no champagne flutes. Disappointing.gif.

Nice meat and cheese platter though.

After ensuring that I drank an espresso and a lot of water to clear my palette, I ordered Bushmills 21. I’ve been waiting to have this one for quite awhile. So much I didn’t mind overpaying for it (okay, I minded a little bit, but I’m cheap).

This isn’t the easiest dram to find in Canada. Heck, it wasn’t easy to find when I went to the UK as well, but that’s mostly due to being transfixed by all the scotch options I had.

This is the top of the standard line. Outside special editions, this is the peak of Bushmills. It’s all their hard work, distilled (literally), aged patiently, and put out there. So much so that it won the best Irish Single Malt 2013.

However we know that 2013 was a poop year. Joking, of course. Rather we know that awards are subjective.

So let’s see what my subjective view is on this much recommended dram.

Bushmills 21 1.jpg

Price: €175.00

Region: Ireland

Cask Types: Oloroso Sherry, Bourbon, and Madeira

Composition: A 50:50 combination of whiskey matured for 19 years in a combination of Oloroso sherry casks and bourbon casks, which are then married together and finished for over 2 years in Madeira casks.

Abv: 40%

Colour: 7.5YR 6/8

Nose: Xmas cake, dates, rum sauce, grape/allspice sauce, peach jam, grapefruit

Complex nose. Much more than I would ever give it given the abv or the glass. Strong notes on this one of molasses, spices, and overall a “this guy loves brown sugar a little too much” kinda way.

Which sums me up, given my waistline.

Give this dram some time and the fruits really bubble up out of it. There’s tart and rich notes here. Balances itself out quite nicely.

Taste: Dark amber honey, mineral water, grapefruit bitters, lemon candy, mulled wine, dragonfruit

Again has that molasses/darker sugar taste to it, but this time with lots more mineral. Versus some other drams I’ve had recently, this mineral note is at the front, and eventually gives way to more bitter fruit, spices, and even a light neutral sorta fruit note.

I can’t really describe dragonfruit flavour. It’s there, and it’s fruity, it’s just really light. Or maybe I associate it with more of a generic red fruit flavour. Either way, this reminded me of it. Love the spice here. It’s melded into the fruits nicely.

Finish: Dry grapefruit, mineral, ginger candy, light molasses cookie, strawberry smoothie, apple juice

Dry finish, which seems a little off. The mineral is back, but doesn’t bring as many presents, and like the spoiled child I am, I have a hissy fit over it.

Joking aside, the finish seems a little disjoint from the taste and nose. We had these stronger molasses flavours that go limp right at the end. If I had to guess, which I do, I’d say the lower abv. has finally reared it’s ugly head here.

Conclusion: Honestly a really delightful dram, all in all. While I feel the finish was disjoint and the weakest part, it’s by no stretch bad. Just not as good. Or perhaps needs more oomph. Hard to say.

The nose was spices and joy of Xmas, the taste was all the molasses I could want mixed with mineral to balance it, and the mouthfeel was quite nice as well. Do I think it could be improved on? Of course. The amount of effort here is amazing. It’s probably one of the best 40% whiskies I’ve had in a long time.

Should it be a higher abv? Well duh. Or maybe it needs more time. Something has pooched the finish here. Otherwise it’s a must pour, regardless, and would be enjoyed by enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike.

86/100

World Whiskey review #229, Ireland reviews #47, Whiskey Network reviews #1048

1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die review #327

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