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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Bushmills 19 year old 2001 SMWS 51.17

Monday offered up an oaky Bushmills thanks to its first-fill bourbon barrel. I'm going to try another one from the Ulster that spent more time in a theoretically-milder aging vessel. Same bottler, similar ABV. May the fruits be with this whiskey.

Distillery: Old Bushmills
 Casa Cuervo
Location: County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Type: Single Malt
Distillations: Three
Age: 19 years old (16 Jan 2001 - 2020)
Maturation: second-fill bourbon barrel
Cask: 51.17
Cutesy SMWS name: A spring in your step
Outturn: 175 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 54.6%
(from a bottle split)


Lots of mint in the nose here, but less anise than was in the 15yo. Some pine needles and pumpernickel toast in the middle. Nectarines and orange blossoms in the background. The palate starts off with white peach, bitter orange peel and butterscotch. The bitter citrus note builds over time, with smaller moments of mint and pepper in the back. It finishes with pairings of bitter citrus and sweet citrus, peach and cayenne.

DILUTED to ~43%abv, or >1½ tsp of water per 30mL whiskey

Now the nose shows more orange and lime zests with a bit of kiwi candy. The palate gets sweeter and maltier while holding onto the citrus and peaches. The finish balances tart, sweet and bitter well.


Much better. In the 15yo oak blocked much of that whiskey's development. Here in the 19yo, the barrel helps frame the fruit, which is what some of us look for when trying well-aged Irish malts. I'm not someone who hands out compliments to SMWS often (or at all), but I appreciate that they dumped this barrel before letting it ride another decade and charging a half grand per bottle for the result. The spirit is still alive here.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87

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