Bushmills 16 years ‘Three woods’

"Three woods, but unfortunately no 3-dimensional whisky with too much cask influence too less spirit-driven"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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In 1608, the Bushmills area in North-Ireland presumably received their first license for alcohol distillation, which would make them the oldest distillery in the world. At least, they state it proudly on their labels. As any distilleries Old Bushmills Distillery has seen many different owners, and nowadays they are once more shifting to another, as Diageo has traded them to tequila brand Jose Cuerva. Their 16 year expression is a particular one, as it has first been matured in a combination of bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks, after which it has been finished for several months in port casks.


Black currants kick in with a rush, and they come with plenty. Oak has worked hard and vanilla is clearly present. Water brings out sweet candy, sugar, raisins and notes of Oloroso sherry. Then the bitter notes of cassis and oak come back accompanied by some sweet cherries.


Also here a wave of black currant, cassis and cherries. Bitter, stringent. In between sweetish notes of fruit sugar and (cassis-flavoured) sweets. Some notes of plastic! Or is it my imagination? The finish is acidic and dryish. It improves when you leave it some time in the glass, and the sweetish notes come more into balance with the port and oak influence.


Three woods, but unfortunately, no 3-dimensional whiskey. The port-sherry-bourbon equation is disturbed by a high influence of the port-wood, which in fact seems quite artificial if it is forced upon the spirit. Over-active Bourbon oak does not complement the Port, but strengthen its bitter, acidic and dryish notes. Too much cask-, too less spirit-driven, if you ask me. On the other hand, the Oloroso sherry is too timid. My conclusion: three woods, three swings, but unfortunately three strikes and out. Unless you are very fond of port-wood finishes, then this might be your thing.

What others say

Whiskybase: 85.00 (423 votes) * @AllThingsWhisky: 88.5/100 * @TheWhiskeyJug: 90/100 * @DrinkHacker: A-
Read for yourself

A sample of this was purchased from !


these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
Sweet <-> Spicy
Nose 82%
Taste 80%
Balance 75%
Depth 78%
Finish 81%