Ulster Whiskey Blog

Bushmills 21

“Listen to that” a friend once said when closing the door on a luxury car that we happened to be getting into at the time. It was the sound of quality, you knew this was a thing of class. Its like the “ping” a golf ball makes when a pro hits it. Most of us hack away making dull thudding noises and shutting our crappy tin sounding doors without thinking much about it but when we hear the right sound it alerts us to the fact class is in the area. You could hazard a guess the same thing happened when someone like Elizabeth Taylor walked into a room, the hush, the adjustment of body position, the aura. Class ya see, can’t buy it, or so the quote goes.

Well it turns out you can. Bushmills 21 oozes class and it can be purchased so hear ends the discussion. Well nope because class is only one aspect of something, something can be classy but not necessarily desirable nor sexy or worth the effort. Elizabeth Taylor may have ticked a lot of boxes, but I bet she was high maintenance and there is no conceivable way she looked that good ALL the time. The 21 is wonderful, its rich, feels fabulous looks good tastes superb but there is something lacking. There’s a certain sexiness that just isn’t there, sometimes you want something with a bit of danger or quirkiness to it.

The nose is great, the palate is superb but the finish, oh lord. For me it just keeps going and gets creamier and more divine until it lifts away to the heavens and leaves you wanting more. So it starts great, keeps getting better and leaves you wanting more and that should be just about the perfect run of things but somehow it isn’t. This whiskey is educated by Sherry Casks, gets its masters from Bourbon then gets its PHD from Madeira after a final two years of work. Its university is on the North Antrim coast, a simply stunning setting across a narrow sea to Islay, the spiritual home of Scotch.

That is a perfect opposite in many ways, two sides of an unwanted argument about which is best. Islay with its deep peat and, sometimes, hard to live with quality or Bushmills with its elegance and refinement?  Well its two different things really, one a Rolls Royce and the other a track only Italian supercar, you can love them both, but which one makes your heart sign? Which one could you live with every day? Its these sorts of dilemmas that aren’t really a hardship, first world problems I think they are called online.

Bushmills 21 is the premium bottling from the world’s oldest distiller, and a true testament to all that experience and history and the price reflects it, so it isn’t something you could sit with every day, alas, unless you are minted. Nor would you want to really, that Oliver Twist effect of “Please Sir can I have some more?” might wear off and leave you resenting this and that would be a crying shame.

Nose: Toffee, Rich spice, Peanut Butter, Dried fruit

Palate: Rich Cream, Toffee, Chocolate, Gorgeous spice

Finish: Where to start? Deep chocolate, spice and coffee rising and rising to go to double then single cream. Stunning

Value for money: Absolutely

Score: 8/10

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *