Only 1 more day to Get Your Irish on . . .
If you've been reading my previous posts in my St Paddy's Day series, you'll know how much I love the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. Well here is another treasure for you to enjoy: Bushmills . . . both the town and the whiskey!
I'm sure you've heard of (and hopefully enjoyed) the world famous Bushmills Irish Whisky? Well the Bushmills Distillery, located in the town of Bushmills in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, claims to be - and is almost unanimously considered to be - the oldest licenced distillery in the world. A licence to distill in the area was granted to Sir Thomas Phillipps in 1608 by King James I, and the 1608 date is printed on the labels of the Bushmills brand whiskey.
In 1890, a steamship owned and operated by the distillery, the S.S. Bushmills, made its maiden voyage across the Atlantic to deliver Bushmills whiskey to America. It called at Philadelphia and New York before heading on to Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Yokohama.
In the early 1900s, the USA was a very important market for Bushmills but along came Prohibition in 1920 which was a hard blow to the Irish Whiskey industry, but Bushmills managed to survive. Wilson Boyd, Bushmills' director at the time, predicted the end of prohibition and had large stores of whiskey ready to export !
Currently they produce:
- BushmillsOriginal - Irish whiskey blend - sometimes called White Bush or Bushmills White Label. The grain whiskey is matured in American oak casks
- Black Bush - Bushmills' premier blend, with a significantly greater proportion of malt to grain whiskey than the white label. Selected Spanish Oloroso sherry-seasoned oak casks mature the malt, before it is blended with delicate sweet single grain whiskey. Developed in 1934, it was originally called "Old Bushmills Special Old Liqueur Whiskey".
- Bushmills 10 year single malt - Matured in American bourbon barrels for at least 10 years.
- Bushmills 12 year single malt - A special edition currently sold only at the Bushmills distillery, matured mostly in sherry casks.
- Bushmills 16 year single malt - Matured for 16 years or more in a combination of American bourbon barrels, Spanish Oloroso sherry butts and Port pipes.
- Bushmills 21 year single malt - A limited number of 21 year bottles are made each year, and are matured in 3 different types of casks: first in American bourbon barrels and then in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. Together it will total 19 years in these casks, after which it may lie in Madeira drums for a further 2 years until bottling.
- Bushmills 1608 - A special 400th Anniversary whiskey. A blend containing 95% malt and 5% grain whiskey made with 30% crystal malt for exceptional smoothness. From February 2008 it was available in Bushmills outlets across the world; however, from 2009 it will be available only in the Whiskey Shop at the distillery and in duty free shops.
If you've not yet sampled this fine fine product, search it out in your local bar and have it the way we have it at home; a shot of Bush and same again with water. No soda. No ice. No twist. Yum!
Now if you do decide to take a wee trip to visit the Antrim Coast, one of the best places to stay is the Old Bushmills Inn located between the Giant's Causeway and Royal Portrush Golf Club. Like a fine malt, the Bushmills Inn Hotel has matured across the years. The original coach house and stables are thought to date back to 1608, the same year that the Bushmills distillery was granted the first ever licence to distil whiskey.
Their "Taste of Ulster" restaurant allows you to savour the delights of a unique blend of classical and new Irish cuisine.
And of course, there's the pub which takes you back in time while you sip responsibly :0)
Only 1 more day to get your Irish on . . .
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