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Whiskey Review: Bushmills 12 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Bushmills. This in no case, by our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the purchase link at the bottom of this review, our site receives a small referral payment which helps support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

The watchwords that immediately come to mind when thinking of Bushmills are history and heritage. However, at the time of this 12-year-old single malt whiskey release, Bushmills demonstrates that the company is not afraid of progress either. Not only does this offer the first “phrase to officially launch the brand’s new elevated bottle and wrapper…”, but this whiskey is also marketed under new Master Blender, Alex Thomas.

According to Bushmills, Alex is the first female Master Blender not only in the history of Bushmills, but also in the history of Irish whiskey. Reflecting on this whiskey release, Alex said: “Bushmills 12-Year-Old is an exceptional malt that speaks to the rich history and expertise of our brand, and I am delighted to have it released for the first time. in the United States under my care as master blender.

The 100% unpeated malted barley in this 12-year-old version is triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills. The new-make whiskey is then aged for at least 11 years in Oloroso sherry casks and bourbon casks before being blended and finished for six to nine months in Marsala barriques (wine barrels). For those unfamiliar with Marsala, it is a fortified wine (meaning distilled alcohol has been added) and is primarily produced in the region surrounding Marsala, Sicily, Italy. Finally, and in keeping with the history of Bushmills, the distillery draws spring water from the River Bush and uses it to cut the proof whisky.

Bushmills Distillery is located on the north coast of Ireland in the village of Bushmills, by the River Bush. To paint a mental picture of this beautiful corner of the world, imagine: rocky cliffs, green pastures, storms, waves, wind (gales) and rain. Now focus on the distillery and think, time – hundreds of years, in fact. In 1608, the King of England granted the Governor of Bushmills a license to distill, and so a metaphorical stake was driven into Irish soil, establishing the world’s oldest whiskey tradition. However, it was not until 1784 that the Old Bushmills Distillery Company was officially established as a distillery. And with another time jump, we fast forward to the present when Bushmills is now a distillery owned by Jose Cuervo.

Bushmills 12 years old (image via Bushmills)

Tasting notes: Bushmills 12 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Vital Stats: 80 proof (40% ABV). Mash bill: 100% unpeated malted barley. 750ml. MSRP: $59.99 Available for mass distribution in the US, from February 2022. Bushmills, Ireland.

Appearance: The whiskey color is a pleasant copper without pushing into the slightly darker territory of bronze, it reminds me of wet wheat straw and candied orange peel.

Nose: A polished affair, but still reasonably robust with savory whiffs of dried fruit, spice and apple.

Palace: Initially sweet and restrained, but wait a few beats, and there’s a nice build-up to lingering warm spice. A second pour into my NEAT glass and another sip definitely boosted the creamy start of the whiskey and brought out a pleasant caramelized sugar.