Bushmills 21 Year Old Tasting Notes

December 4, 2021

Bushmills 21 Year

Bushmills Distillery

Single Malt 



Tasting note compiled by Mark McLaughlin (@mark_rye)



Bushmills one of Irelands longest running distilleries, although don’t believe the 1608 claims, as the original distillery was built until 1784 and even that burnt down a few times. That being said, they have been one of Ireland’s most consistent distilleries for many a moon and have been the out and out champions of triple distilled Single Malt on our Emerald Isle. Although many have moaned and complained that Bushmills Distillery hasn’t been living up to it’s potential, although in recent years the Causeway Collection has satisfied some of the unsatisfied. Although a recent revamp of the bottle and label have led many to state that they should have left well enough alone, as no one was complaining about the packaging. I, however, really like the new packaging and think it’s exactly what they needed for their Single Malt range.

Bushmills 21 year old is made up of 2 components whiskeys which have matured in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks for 19 years before being filled at an approximate ratio of 50:50 into Madiera casks for the final 2 years. I previously worked with Bushmills and at the time was told that only 27 Madiera casks are filled each year, with some not making the final cut for the bottling. Bottled at 40%abv to many a whiskey connoisseurs dismay, let’s dive right in.


Yellow gold with an amber hue.


Nose (Aromas)

Fruitful, it’s like sticking your nose into a bowl of fruit, typical Bushmills bananas, apples, pears and a touch of grape skin. I get lots of vanilla, coconut and toasted oak notes, clear bourbon component character. While not typically sherried, it’s got this gorgeous nutty, malty character which seems to transform with every breath. There’s a slight buttery, sugary malt character, not unlike toasted brioche.


Palate & Finish 

Complex, the palate becomes much more stone fruit driven, while the orchard character swamps in from behind, there’s orange zest, marzipan, hazelnut and dark chocolate. It’s got a lovely oily texture which allows the grape driven notes to continue from the nose with light touches of oak spice throughout.



I get why people complain about the abv, this whiskey is incredibly soft & elegant, remaining relaxed throughout the drinking experience. I for one don’t spend my time worrying about abv’s and just attempt to enjoy what’s in the glass, and boy did I enjoy this. Anyone who shops in this price point should own a bottle in my opinion. I love it and its new look!

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