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Sometimes you’re in the mood for White Castle, other times you it’s gotta be a Wagyu bistro burger. It’s the same with whiskey—sometimes you want a workhorse blend, other times the urge to splurge on an expensive single malt takes over. Now Bushmills has you covered on both ends with the addition of 25 and 30-year-old Irish single malts to its core range for times when the vibes veer towards highfalutin.
Bushmills is best known for The Original, a blend of malt and grain Irish whiskey that rivals Jameson in its boilermaker potential. The malt whiskey from “the world’s oldest licensed distillery” is distilled onsite before being aged in bourbon barrels and sherry casks for a minimum of five years. But the grain whiskey comes from elsewhere because the Old Bushmills Distillery, located near the beautiful Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, solely produces malt. While Scotland is better known for this style, Ireland is a prolific producer of single malts, and Bushmills has been doing it for far longer than anyone in the country.
The core lineup consists of 10, 16 and 21-year-old single malts, with a 12-year-old having been added to the mix last year. Each of these (except for the 10-year-old) is initially matured in both bourbon and sherry barrels, before getting a unique finish in a different type of cask. The same goes for the new 25 and 30-year-old single malts that are now permanent parts of the core lineup. While there have been Bushmills whiskeys released before with those same age statements, they have been limited editions like the third in the Rare Cask series that came out this winter, the 30 Year Old Madeira Cask.
The Bushmills team, led by master distiller Colum Egan and master blender Alex Thomas, is particularly proud of these new whiskeys as the distillery is one of the few to actually have enough stock to continually release liquid this old as part of its core range. “When we started planning these two new whiskeys over 30 years ago, we traveled all over Europe to hand-select each cask,” said Egan in a statement. “We collaborated with winemakers to specify the fortified wine recipe used to season them to create the flavors of our future Bushmills whiskey. We still engage in this process, down to the detail of cask toasting times and temperatures before we add the wine. We leave the casks to season for at least a couple of years in the hot European climate before transporting the seasoned casks back to Bushmills.”
The 25-year-old single malt was initially aged in bourbon barrels and sherry butts for close to six years, then spent another 21 years in ruby port casks. Egan describes the palate as having hedgerow dark fruit and honey flavors. The 30-year-old was distilled in 1992 and spent 14 years in bourbon and sherry casks before being re-casked into Pedro Ximenez barrels for its final 16 years. Egan notes raisin, fig and praline flavors on the palate. Both whiskeys are non-chill filtered and bottled at 46 percent ABV.
These two new whiskeys are available in 700-ml bottles priced at $900 for the 25 and $2,200 for the 30 from online retailers. But the clock is ticking down, so if you really want to up your St. Patrick’s Day celebration you better start your search now.