Review: Bushmills Single Malt 16 Years Old Irish Whiskey
If you’re drinking Irish today (and you probably are), consider upgrading your dram with something a little more sophisticated.
Bushmills 16 Year Old is a single malt (rare enough for Irish) that is matured in ex-Bourbon barrels or Oloroso sherry barrels — a portion of the production in each. The two barrel types are then married and finished in Port barrels for a triple-wooded attack.
This unique whiskey has lots of the hallmarks of Irish — a nutty almond backbone, hints of banana and coconut, and an earthy, honeyed finish. But there’s much more going on here, too, that adds ample complexity. The sherry is big on the front, offering more than just the usual orange oil and orange peel notes you get with sherried Scotch but also deep, oxidized sherry character, something that must come from many years in a sherry barrel rather than a simple finish. I don’t get a whole lot of Port here (it spends just 6 to 9 months in that final barrel), though the deep burnt amber color is a clear indicator of its impact. Hints of dark chocolate-covered-cherries on the finish are the only real remnants of the Port, with a surprising amount of roasted barley notes overwhelming the picture in the end. Tons going on here, and for the most part they all work well together.
At $70 a bottle, it will set you back considerably more than the typical bottle of Irish, but the exotic profile of this spirit should earn it a spot on your top shelf.