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Friday, April 22, 2022

Bushmills 25 year old 1995 Causeway Collection, Malaga casks

On Monday and Wednesday, I reviewed a pair of single bourbon barrel Bushmills malts from SMWS. Today, I'm reporting on a rare full-powered official Bushmills. Matured for about 11 years in oloroso and bourbon casks, this batch was then transferred to Malaga casks for another 14 years. So this isn't a quickie finish. It's a full secondary maturation.

Malaga, a Spanish fortified wine, does tend to be pretty sweet but, like sherry and port, there are different types/distinctions. I don't think Bushmills listed the type used here, but the end result is probably a winesky. I'm not 100% winesky-phobic, as I've found some to be very enjoyable, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Distillery: Old Bushmills
 Casa Cuervo
Location: County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Type: Single Malt
Distillations: Three
Age: 25 years old (22 Nov 1995 - 2020)
Maturation: 10+ years in Oloroso and bourbon casks, 14+ years in Malaga casks
Outturn: 2491 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53.5%
(from a bottle split)


The nose has the rich oak of older L'Encantada armagnacs with a swirl of orange liqueur mixed in. Musty old furniture, lumber, eucalyptus, saline and smoked almonds with bits of moss and port-ish berry notes in the background. Can't say "whiskey" is the first thing I think of when testing the palate. Orange liqueur rides up front again, mixing with dried thyme and rosemary, fresh ginger and dried apricots. More than a little orange Fanta and a touch of umeshu (Japanese plum wine). It finishes very sweet, with dried apricots, plum jam, fresh ginger and orange peels.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL whiskey

The nose becomes more focused, with furniture polish, dunnage and citrus peels in the front, toffee in the back. The palate would be stellar, thanks to red plums and Rainier cherries, if not for the orange liqueur and bitter oak notes. Though it does finish nicely with more cherry jam than orange liqueur.


How many times should I type "orange liqueur" before my point is made? Despite all the whiskey-in-name-only's sweetness, I actually enjoyed sipping it. The neat nose is lovely at times as well. Drinkers seeking the dynamite style of long-aged Irish single malt may be disappointed here, as will many folks looking for more whiskey in their whiskey. But if you didn't shill out €400 for a bottle, and you free your mind, man, you may experience more than a modicum of pleasure sipping this stuff.

Availability - May still be available in Europe
Pricing - €400+
Rating - 85 (I have no idea if this score makes sense)