Bushmills Black Bush Tasting Notes

November 8, 2021

Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey

Old Bushmills Distillery

Blended Irish Whiskey 



Tasting note compiled by Mark McLaughlin (@mark_whiskey)



If you time-traveled back 20 years to visit an Irish pub, chances are that you’d find just 5 whiskeys on the shelf – Jameson, Paddy, Powers, Bushmills Original and if you were treating yourself, Black Bush. This was especially true in rural Ireland.

In truth the Black Bush was only ever 10 or 20p more expensive, but it had an air of its own, a legacy, a special whiskey suited to special occasions. It was the whiskey I treated myself to on my 18th birthday, little did I know, I’d be selling it just a few short years later.

My stint with Bushmills was a short one but in that time I learned a lot. Black Bush is a blended whiskey with an unusually high malt whiskey content (80% malt/20% grain) and it’s made using a special light style of grain distillate which was specifically created in Midleton to replicate the style of grain that would have been produced in the old Coleraine distillery, that went into the Black Bush of old. Black Bush is famed for its use of sherry casks, with 80% of the malt whiskey component being matured in oloroso sherry casks, with the rest of the whiskey matured in ex-bourbon barrels.

There are unconfirmed rumours that this is the same grain distillate used in Jameson Black Barrel, makes sense!



Deep Amber.


Nose (Aromas)

It smells quite luscious for a just-above-entry-level blend, there’s a gorgeous toffee note that turns to something resembling nougat. The sweet light grain dances throughout the nose but there’s definite hints of sherry, cola bottles and a light dusting of spice.


Palate & Finish 

It has a nice weight to it, the tongues rolls with juicy raisin notes, a hint of almond nuttiness and dark chocolate bitter notes all shine through. I find the vibrancy of the malt to be clear but balanced by the grain, its body is superb and the delivery of flavor is balanced and complex. There’s orange chocolate, tinned peaches and all kinds of spice. It’s got plenty of length.



In my opinion, quite simply one of the best value for money whiskeys in the world. If anyone ever doubts the quality, complexity and downright satisfaction that can be obtained from blended whiskey, they need to try this. That being said, some people don’t like it. Who am I to judge?


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