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Bushmills Visit.

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Bushmills Visit.

Postby John » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:14 pm

Hi All,
This post is WAY overdue at this stage, apologies. In fact, it was only after a good chat with the venerable Colum Egan (Master Distiller at Bushmills) at WhiskeyLive over the weekend that I realised I had forgotten to actually post the details of the visit. Anyway, much better late than never, so here you go. Glad to see that at least some of my notes have proven correct and certainly great to see that exciting times lie ahead for both the Bushmills team and the Bushmills connoisseur!

Hi All, :salut:

A while back, a few of us undertook a trip to visit another stalwart of the now revived Irish Whiskey scene – this time it was of course, Bushmills! The visit was facilitated by Colum Egan, Master Distiller and we met a number of excellent ambassadors for the Distillery who clearly both appreciate the heritage that comes with the brand as well as the exciting promise of what the new chapter is likely to bring to the North Antrim home of single malts and blends.

From the outset, upon arrival at the distillery you can’t help but get a feel for the history of the site. The Bushmills town has practically grown up around the distillery; every other resident of the town either works or knows someone who works there – and they could very well give you a history of the distillery as well! In the visitors’ areas, old equipment now restored for show provides a window into the past in terms of the manner in which whiskey was produced over the course of hundreds of years.

We were met by Laura, our bubbly, enthusiastic and well-motivated tour guide who brought us from the tour centre, through the distillery, bottling plant and warehouses and back to the visitors’ centre where we enjoyed an excellent tasting. Conducted by Robert (or Bob if his Mum isn’t within earshot!), this was a journey from the distillery’s own reserve, through the 16yo, 21you (for those of you who are fans of the 16yo and the 21yo; manage your stocks! Rumour has it that they may be going on allocation shortly!) and onwards through some of the much lesser known but excellent cask-strength releases. Rob gave us a background on the drinks provided, showed how each was developed over time and what we should pick up from the nose, taste and finish. He also gave a brief overview of some of the even more obscure releases that the distillery has been involved in over the years. Many of these were certainly news to me and this was a general theme that emerged over the course of the evening, i.e. the (flawed) concept that perhaps Bushmills had, for whatever reason, simply gone to sleep over the last twenty or so years. Not so it seems. Whether it’s producing its’ own very well-known range of blends and single malts; providing ‘backbone’ stock for some other very well-known distilleries; or bottling for an even more well-known whiskey brand, Bushmills doesn’t seem to have even taken a short nap, never mind fall asleep. Now, of course, with the distillery under new ownership, I’m guessing that nobody is planning any sleep for the next twenty!

Towards the end of our tasting we were joined by Lynn Bryce, Brand Manager for Bushmills, who kindly imparted some of the rich history attached to the distillery. If the new owners thought that they were going to set the pace for development well I hope that they have comfortable running shoes because Lynn is already halfway around the track in terms of ideas for where they want to be over the next few years!

Overall, it was a really very enjoyable visit and it’s certainly well worth the trip! Bushmills is definitely one to watch over the next year or so if the samples provided at WhiskeyLive Dublin were anything to go by. :thumbsup:
Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore; always carry a small snake - W.C. Fields et al.
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