Bushmills Original

Score: 85/100

ABV: 40%
Body: Light
Intensity: Low
Texture: Medium
Balance: Superb 
Best served: Neat, with ice, mixed
Theme(s): Soft, light, malt, grain, apple, oats
Likes: Impeccable balance, smoothness
Dislikes: Short finish, dies quickly 
Price: $40

Bushmills original is a no nonsense entry level Irish whiskey with a narrow but elegant flavour spectrum that has subtle nuances that resonate with different shades of what one might initially idenify as the same character or flavour. It is a blended Irish whiskey, and it is a fantastic example of a simple but solid, light, fresh and delightful whiskey that is extremely drinkable. My photo to the left I think captures this whiskey. It might appear simple and dull, but just look at all those pebbles and rocks, their shades etc. That is the Bushmills Original; it has lots of shades.

If you want to know more about Bushmills or Irish whiskey, please see my review of Bushmills Black Bush.

This whiskey is a delightfully smooth whisky that is ideal for mixing or sipping neat, though don’t expect it to burst into fireworks on the palate. That, in my view, is not what it was designed to do. This whiskey is a top notch mixer or entry level sipping whiskey, and because it is triple distilled in true Bushmills style it glides down the palate smoothly and the character on the nose moves seamlessly to the palate. You really cannot ask for more in a whiskey of this price.

The Bushmills Original has a decent nose with bursts of malt and sliced apple, a nice balance with nothing really rocking the boat. However, the finish does fizzle and die relatively quickly. This may mean that the whiskey is a tad boring served neat instead of mixed, but on focusing carefully on the whisky I identified subtle nuances; different shades of the same malty and apple expression that reeled me into unpacking it more and more.  This is why my reviews are always done, unless stated otherwise, at my home and on my own on a “blind” basis (it is not possible to unpack a complex whisky at a bar or with company).

Tasting notes – Bushmills Original


The gust of malt mingles with slices apple, to merge sweet and savoury. This is light on the nose, but it has that characteristic Bushmills smoothness and elegance. The flavour spectrum seems narrow, with that malt and apple dominating. Carry on! With further nosing the apple begins to take shape, and it expresses itself in several forms. First that fresh slices apple bursts with sweet juiciness, but in the blind of an eye it turns dry like dried apple over a bed of muesli; which is made up of uncooked rolled oaks, nuts and dried fruits. That muesli is the grain and earthiness in this whiskey, with some spice and creamy yogurt drops. This is all light and subtle, but it is certainly identifiable.


Silky smooth on the palate, this is seriously good sipping whiskey. The subtle shades of apple and malt begin to unfurl slowly, as the complex texture of this whisky carries a wholemeal apple strudel with chocolate and dollops of thin cream, almost tart like yogurt. The grain shines through the sweetness, very gently. This whiskey does die very quickly, but it does have a decent kick at the start of the tasting that gradually progresses into a solid but light experience. Then it dies.  


The finish is a let down, but the other aspects of this whiskey make it a “more-ish” Irish whsikey that can easily become a favourite entry level, low cost “daily dram”. The finish does not last very long at all, and fizzles.  

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