Bushmills 10 Year
Several weeks ago I spoke with my friend PJ about the week following St. Patty’s Day. I knew the week was going to be crazy because my wife and I were closing on our first home. Fortunately, when you have great friends they will always be there to help when you need them most. Several of these friendships have been developed over some glasses of bourbon. Pj and I met in college and we both share a love for good quality beverages. So, it was only appropriate that we sit down and review a Single Malt Irish Whiskey together. While we reviewed the whiskey together, PJ wrote out the review. So pour yourself a little and sit back
and enjoy! Cheers.
Written by PJ Fox:
A St. Patrick’s Day Treat
Aside from a perfectly poured pint of stout, a single malt Irish whiskey is the perfect way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. Because of my Irish heritage, I suggested to Isaac that we partake in an Irish whiskey during my visit to Louisville. I’ve enjoyed some quality Irish whiskey over the years, but it has been quite some time since I’ve had one. So for this St. Patty’s day, Isaac was more than willing to abide!
For some background, whiskey and St. Patrick’s Day does have a history (as if the Irish need a good back story to enjoy a drink!). There is an old Irish legend where St. Patrick is visiting an inn and the innkeeper doesn’t pour him a full glass of whiskey. St. Patrick decides that this would be a good opportunity to teach him about generosity. He tells the innkeeper that there is a demon feeding on the innkeeper’s dishonesty and he must change his ways in order to get rid of him. When St. Patrick returned a while later, the innkeeper was pouring overflowing glasses. St. Patrick told the innkeeper that the demon had been famished and
was no more. Therefore, St. Patrick proclaimed that from that day on, everyone should have a drop of “the hard stuff” on his feast day. So if you are ever searching for a reason why everyone has a drink of the good stuff on St. Patty’s day, you have a story to tell! Check out the full story at http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodhistory/a/stpatdayhistory.htm.
The Old Bushmills Distillery
Old is right! Bushmills can trace it’s distilling lineage all the way back to 1608. This is when King George, Numero Uno for those who like to keep track, granted the landowner and governor of the site where the Old Bushmills Distillery is currently residing. For this reason, they are widely considered the oldest licensed distillery in the world. They have also had a big impact here in America. Fortunately, during prohibition they stockpiled barrels of whiskey in hopes that prohibition would end shortly. Easing the pain of many years of prohibition, Bushmills had plenty of fine Irish whiskey to export to us grateful Americans!
When Isaac and I uncorked the Bushmills 10 Year, we initially smelled honey from the cork. If you’ve ever had mead, then you’ll be quite familiar with this aroma. There is also a strong smell of brown sugar that reminded me of when I used to sneak a handful of brown sugar as a kid. As we poured the whiskey into a glass, the straw, wheat yellow color looks lighter and more delicate than you bourbon drinkers might be used to. Also, if you’ve perused the Maker’s Mark review, you’ll recognize the golden ring that Isaac mentioned, albeit not as prevalent. The nose from the glass has that same strong honey smell. I think Isaac even
wrote down “honey bear” in his tasting notes! Along with the honey and brown sugar from the cork, notes of oak, candied fruit, grape (white wine), and a hint of spearmint were prevalent. There was a main aroma, but I could tell that there was a lot more going on there. This was a very complex nose that foreshadowed the taste to come.
As with Isaac, I tend to lean toward bolder bourbon. The kind that reach out of the glass punch you in the face. However, I do enjoy the more delicate and complex spirits from time to time. If you enjoy a more subtle flavor profile, then this is right up your alley.
Initially, sweet notes of honey and brown sugar come to the forefront of this Bushmills 10 Year. Then woody oak notes appear on the side of the palate, along with a little vanilla. Then there is a hint of spearmint and a slight tartness that is reminiscent of a white wine. This balances the overall sweetness nicely. The texture is very delicate, approaching thin.
The finish of this Bushmills 10 Year is very pleasant and crazy smooth! The sweet notes of brown sugar and honey had staying power on a majority of the palate. On the sides of the palate, the strong oak flavor lingered the longest. The texture just coats and warms the palate. This whiskey makes me feel sophisticated! It’s always good as lovers of quality spirits to try something different from what we’re used to. This whiskey reminded me of the more delicate side of the whiskey world.
Best Ways to Consume:
I am very partial to drinking quality whiskey neat (especially at this price point) , but if you’re feeling frisky, try this cocktail:
Black Fox Down!
Before I get into the cocktail, a little backstory is needed. And by backstory, Isaac and I made up a story for a cocktail. It’s not hard to see how we came up with the name. My last name is Fox and we wanted to make a potent cocktail that would let the Bushmills 10 Year shine. So here goes.
The Black Fox was the most powerful and cunning fox of them all. One day he managed to get his paws on a leprechaun’s pot o’ gold so the leprechaun came up with a plan. He decided to make a deliciously potent cocktail and offer it to the Black Fox as congratulations for finding his gold. The cocktail was so tasty yet he couldn’t tell how strong it was. He got overconfident and had another, and another, and before he knew it, Black Fox Down (said like Will Ferrell in “The Campaign” after being shot in the leg with a cross bow)!!!! Then the leprechaun got his pot o’ gold back!
If you are feeling brave and want to try this cocktail, here’s the recipie (but don’t say I didn’t warn you!):
3 oz. Bushmills 10 Year
¾ oz. Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Absinthe
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Ice, Shaken, and Strained. Garnish with lemon peel
This was an interesting one to rate because of its price point. It’s expensive enough to not be a regular whiskey choice for most, yet at under $40 it’s still not overly pricey. As far as value for money, this is a very good whiskey. As long as you go into it knowing that it is a more delicate, complex whiskey, it will be an enjoyable experience. For anyone that hasn’t enjoyed a good single malt Irish whiskey, this would be a great place to start. And after you’re done sampling it in your preferred method, try the Black Fox Down cocktail! You’ll enjoy it….after you get up off the floor that is!