We’re impressed with the double-digit aged Bushmills, having enjoyed the thoroughly unique and distillery-only Bushmills 12 (thanks, Tom!). And yet I must confess. We often lower our expectations when we see the ‘e’ shouldering its way in between the ‘k’ and the ‘y’. It’s nothing more than bigotry, really. So let us examine this younger brother of the 12 on its own terms. We get a great raw sugar cane and fresh-cut vetch on the nose. Nuts and cardamom wrapped in kirsch-soaked cabbage leaves then tied down with jute—the Myanmar variety, though with our readership that goes without saying. Bill quantifies his delight by saying it’s four times better than expected. What’s more, a little water prompts him to say it’s seven times better. You see, we’re now getting the more complex aftereffects of our time with this dram. Imagine molasses reduced in a special alchemical pan into anise. It’s a crescendo of dream-like experiences, not sounds, and I am running through a field with Sally, who has no age statement and so we cannot be sure how innocent the resulting experience was. What we can say is that this is dangerously drinkable. There’s a white pepper and gunpowder finish that complements the hell out of listening to the 1812 overture in my Grado GR10 In-Ear Stereo Headphones. The cannon fire explodes into my ear canal as the finish lingers on like a tinnitus in my groin. Mmmmmmmmm.
The Bushmills 10 is the death of John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, at the Battle of Castillon in 1453–If your death is going to bring about the end of the Hundred Years War, best that it not be the case that your horse is felled by cannon fire, you’re pinned under it, and then dispatched by a Frenchman wielding a hand-axe.
–Our ridiculously belated thanks to Peter Zimmerman for the sample.