Review: Bushmills Red Bush Irish Whiskey

Review: Bushmills Red Bush Irish Whiskey

For its latest trick, Bushmills is taking things as old-school as they get. Bushmills Red Bush is a NAS variant of the classic Irish whiskey, one that is aged exclusively in first-fill, medium-charred, ex-bourbon casks. Bushmills Original (aka Original Bush) is aged in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks. If you’re familiar with Black Bush and are curious what the difference is, that whiskey is aged exclusively in sherry barrels.

Red Bush is a blend of single malt whiskey and grain whiskey, all of which is triple distilled. The use of nothing but American bourbon casks, according to the distillery, is meant to position the whiskey as something that bourbon fans new to Irish will find approachable — though in all honesty it’s a fairly standard approach.

The results are pretty much in line with expectations. The nose finds lots of toasty grains, butterscotch, walnuts, and hints of buttered popcorn — many aromas similar to what you’d expect to see in a bourbon, but more mellowed by the softer barley mash. The palate largely follows suit, though there are some initial citrus notes here that come unexpectedly, leading the way to notes of well-browned toast and chewy blondies, along with some furniture polish. The finish is marred by a bit of rubbery band-aid character and a sharpness that is at odds with the soothing front half of the experience, but on the whole the whiskey is at least worthwhile enough for sipping on.

80 proof.


Bushmills Red Bush Irish Whiskey




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Mike Trueman on March 6, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Prior to reading this, my wife bought me some Red Bush. My first taste of it was good but I told her it reminded me of bourbon. Turns out I was right. The above is spot on and us yanks wary of a good Irish whiskey will enjoy this as a transition to the smoother tastes.

  2. David on April 24, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    No, this is not 100% malted barley. It’s not even 100% barley. Grain and barley.

    • Christopher Null on April 24, 2020 at 10:03 pm

      Apologies for that error; we’ve corrected!

  3. Steve on December 29, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Not a fan of sherry influence; therefore, I like the Red Bush more than the Original white label. This is good over ice, which is what this whiskey is made for.

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