Bushmills: Black Bush

Bushmills Black Bush

Nose:  Stewed apples and berries, sultanas, fruitcake, and golden syrup.

Palate:  Smooth, sweet, nut-laden Christmas cake, red fruits, and sweet spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Some of the malt comes through nice and rich, along with some punchy sweetness from the grain.

Mouthfeel:  Mid-weight, slightly oily, slightly creamy, almost juicy, very smooth – no burn at all.

Finish:  Lingering for a short time, sweet red fruits, even more sweet spices.

 



Punchier than most blended-malt scotches, but smoother and richer than most mixed blends; Black Bush is an extremely easy drinking whiskey – one that you could just as easy drink in summer out on the balcony, or watching the footy, or at the pub whilst hanging out with a group of mates.

I’m generally a big fan of whiskies from the Old Bushmills distillery, and although it doesn’t have the weight or complexity of the 16, or 21 year olds; the Black Bush is still an excellent dram.  Black Bush was one of my first whiskies, and definitely the first ‘regular’ in my collection; and still resides there all these years later despite many many bottles of more expensive whiskies – I don’t know whether it’s my half-Irish ancestry, or Black Bush’s rich flavours yet easy accessibility that keeps it there.

The distillery is located in the beautiful township that shares the same name, up north near Giant’s Causeway, and for a very long time has been the only commercial distillery in Northern Ireland.  The Old Bushmills distillery reputedly got its license to distil in 1608 – making it the oldest whisky distillery still in existence.  The company that originally built the current distillery was founded in 1784, and after several closures and a devastating fire has been in continuous operation since 1885.  According to some historians, evidence of distillation at or near Bushmills dates back to 1276 – clearly whisky is in the blood around those parts!  It is the only currently operating distillery in Ireland that was in existence prior to 1975, and one of only two distilleries currently operating in Northern Ireland – with the Echlinville Distillery opening in 2013 (the first new distillery to be licensed in Northern Ireland in 125 years).

Although Black Bush won’t knock anybody’s socks off for any one reason, it is a superb easy-going all-rounder whiskey, and one that will likely always remain as a regular in my cupboard.

Nose:  Stewed apples and berries, sultanas, fruitcake, and golden syrup. Palate:  Smooth, sweet, nut-laden Christmas cake, red fruits, and sweet spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Some of the malt comes through nice and rich, along with some punchy sweetness from the grain. Mouthfeel:  Mid-weight, slightly oily, slightly creamy, almost juicy, very smooth - no burn at all. Finish:  Lingering for a short time, sweet red fruits, even more sweet spices.   Punchier than most blended-malt scotches, but smoother and richer than most mixed blends; Black Bush is an extremely easy drinking whiskey - one that you could just as…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

Jameson: Caskmates – Stout Edition

Jameson Caskmates Stout Ediition

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Nose:  Fresh cut grass, winter fruits, lemon peel, a few almonds, and a dusting of cocoa.  A smattering of standard pot still spices are also present Palate:  Sweet typical pot still flavours of honeyed spices, sweet sticky malt with a dash of burnt golden syrup, a small layering of winter fruits, dark chocolate Tim Tams, and the weakest pinch of hickory smoked salt. There's also some dark, but sweet, hops flavours - a rather unusual taste in a whisky. Mouthfeel:  Thick, dry, and oily in equal measures that complement each other rather than fight each other.  A slight burn down…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Palate
Mouthfeel
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Teeling: Single Grain

Teeling Single Grain

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Nose:  Honey, baked apricots, nutmeg, red apples, cinnamon sugar, coconut milk, bees wax, vanilla, soggy Weet-Bix covered in brown sugar.  A slight grassy tinge just wafting lazily in the background. Palate:  Honey, grapes, sultanas, and more of that soggy and sugary Weet-Bix.  Some apples are also present somewhere in the background - this time green rather than the red apples on the nose.  A tiny amount of cinnamon - proper cinnamon, not cinnamon sugar.  Quite sweet, but not overdone. Mouthfeel: Thicker than any other Teeling whiskey that I've tried - resonably weighty for an Irish whiskey, medium weight when compared…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

Teeling: Single Malt

Teeling Single Malt

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Nose:  When first opened there's a whiff of straight alcohol which quickly runs away to be replaced by grape juice, and chocolate chip muesli bars.  Also faint traces of grilled banana and pineapple lumps (the lollies, not chunks of fresh pineapple - for those of you not from the antipodes). Palate:  Vanilla, oak spices, citrus, cinnamon, honey.  Quite malty and peppery as well.  Probably unsurprisingly given the number of different casks that the spirit was finished in, there is quite a lot going on in this whiskey.  Unfortunately it never really seems to get its act together - there seems…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

Teeling: Small Batch

Teeling Small Batch

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Nose: Spiced rum is big on the nose along with some earthy spices, nutmeg, toffee, and brown sugar. Palate:  Quite sweet with dark golden syrup, burnt toffee, lots of oak spices, toasted oats with brown sugar.  A bit grassy and peppery. Mouthfeel:  A fair bit of alcohol heat in this whisky, particularly at the tip, and the back of the tongue - but not a particularly harsh heat; more sparkle than burn.  Reasonably creamy without being thick or chewey.  The burn doesn't last particularly long, although the mouth remains warm right through drinking and into the finish. Dry, and not…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish