Back on 1st August last year (2018), I was sitting at home when my phone chirped (as it does at a ridiculous rate since I started this blog!). Today was the day……the first sneaky Bushmills Acacia cask images had come through! Straight to social media I went to “throw it out there”. The mention of a new Distillery Reserve from Bushmills really tickled some peoples fancy! None more than my pal Phil over at Causeway Coast Whiskey Reviews! He saw the post and ran off to the distillery to buy a bottle!! Not before questioning how the hell I found out before him!
For me, this release was a big deal. An Acacia cask (Acacia is used mostly for sweet wines). A new Distillery Reserve to compliment their present 12 year old. Bottled at 47%. Non Chill filtered and even though it’s not stated on the label, a 10 year old. The last time I tried the present 12 year old Distillery Reserve (blue label) I wasn’t overly impressed which was very disappointing as I had once loved it going back 3 or so years ago. So while I was very excited, I also was very apprehensive. We all know how the majority of the Steamship releases went…….!
The liquid itself was aged predominantly in ex bourbon and sherry casks which were married together and finished in the Acacia casks for approximately a year. The yield was quoted as 12,000 bottles. I had big hopes….did I mention that already? Just to also note that this review first appeared in the Irish Whiskey Magazine released just before Christmas. Notes remain the same;
Nose – Bushmills right off the bat. Some stone fruit such as peach in there. Floral notes seem to come and go with a mild touch of mint too. Sherry cask influence is evident with some spice like cinnamon and a hint of raisins.
Palate – Slow lingering legs on my copita are a great indication of how oily this is. I could swirl it all night. Nice mellow sweetness to this. Touch of honey and white sugar. Nice share of vanilla that you’d expect from a malt.
Finish – Christmas cake. Raisins. Orange zest, Milk chocolate, maybe white chocolate even but the sweetness is not over bearing.
Overall – Why aren’t Bushmills doing great things like this?! They have the potential to be a massive contender in the market but seem to plod along with a few decent bottlings when they could explode interest every now and again with releases like this. Would love to try the base liquid before the acacia finish as a comparison but I really like this whiskey. On addition of water the Sherry influence was dialed up a couple of points, not a bad thing for me and I think the 47% was a good call. It gives you plenty lee way to play with this drop and balance it to your liking. And this is a dram I’d like to sit at home and practice balancing to my liking over and over again!