Having received its license to distill “uisce beatha” from King James I in 1608, Bushmills prides itself to be the “world’s oldest whiskey distillery”. After unfavourable circumstances forced the whiskey makers to operate out of the shadows for quite some time, they finally made their doings official almost two centuries later in 1784. To honor their roots and celebrate 400 years of distilling on their home turf of County Antrim, Bushmills – which now is one of the strongest forces in the Irish whiskey landscape – released their 1608 Anniversary Edition back in 2008. Blended from a small amount of high-quality grain whiskey and a big chunk of so-called crystal malt whiskey, this special bottling epitomizes the signature smoothness that Irish distillates are world-famous for. But that is not all. The Bushmills 1608 Anniversary Edition is also a symbol of the immense popularity gain that whiskey from the Emeral Isle received in recent times. In late 2015, I could still buy it for the original retail price of 40 Euro without problems. Not even one and a half years later, most stores have sold out of their stock of 1608. And those who continue to offer the whiskey, have more than doubled its price. Consquently, those of you who are still looking to get hold of this exceptional drop either have to dig a little deeper into their wallets or keep their eyes open for a forgotten bottle that still sports the original price tag. While I keep my fingers crossed that the latter will be the case for you, the first might also be worth considering.
Eye: Full golden.
Nose: Warm, sweet and… just yummy! Drawing this precious liquid to your nose is like opening the oven door and releasing the mouthwatering scent of a freshly baked apple crumble. In addition, there is also the aroma of marzipan, toffee, orange peel and an exotic fruit I cannot exactly pinpoint. Persimmon maybe?
Palate: As is typical of an Irish whiskey, the Bushmills 1608 is smooth, round and rich. It starts sugary (which I suppose to be the effect of the toasted crystal malt), then takes a turn towards the fruity and finally becomes a little malty.
Finish: A real treat! This whiskey stays with you for a while before it ends on a creamy caramel note.
Type: Blended Irish Whiskey
Age: No Age Statement
Alc. volume: 46%
Bottle size: 0.75 litres
Price range: ~85.00 Euro
More info: http://www.bushmills.com/ (Distillery)