Bushmills 2011 Banyuls Cask
Without a doubt this is the biggest, juiciest world exclusive of the year: Bushmills 2011 Banyuls Cask! Our favourite Irish whiskey is back; a rich and triumphantly delicious malt masterpiece packing a sumptuous 53.6% natural cask strength and extremely rare second maturation in French Banyuls casks.Ireland
Colour Rich Auburn
Nose Deep, rich and enticingly fresh and fruity with ripe mandarins, dried apricots, raspberries and strawberry jam, along with sherbet and hint of anise.
Palate A mouthwateringly juicy explosion of citrus, blackcurrants and baked peaches, with glazed pastries, pecans and walnuts.
Finish Long and satisfying. Warm lingering spice melds with stewed plums and freshly baked blackberry pie.
Food Match Irish beef stew alongside creamy mashed potato
Coming in at natural cask strength and finished in fresh French Banyuls casks, is the much-awaited next instalment of the Causeway Collection from Old Bushmills Distillery.
Every drop of Bushmills Single Malt starts with pure water that’s run through basalt rock - the very rock that the Giant’s Causeway is made from - and mixed with malted barley that’s only grown in Ireland. It’s then fermented 56 hours before being triple distilled in beautiful swan necked copper pot stills. The spirit’s then filled into either ex-Bourbon American oak or ex-Oloroso Sherry casks.
Master Blender Helen Mulholland, who has the enviable job of tasting through the 400,000 casks in the warehouses and deciding where they will finish their journey, said it so eloquently:
“Distillation is a science, but maturation is an art. The temperature of the warehouse, the placement of the warehouse, how kind the angels are being in the warehouse, it’s all about that, it’s all about working with nature.”
Bottled at its natural cask strength of 53.6% ABV, and with a three and a half year second maturation in extremely rare Banyuls casks, Bushmills 2011 Banyuls Cask blew us away the moment it was poured into a glass. For the uninitiated, Banyuls can be described as Port’s French cousin, so you can expect big robust fruity flavours of fresh raspberries and blackcurrants alongside luscious strawberry jam, juicy stewed plums and baked peaches with a warm lingering finish of spiced old oak.
But who better to describe it for us, than the Master Blender herself:
“Banyuls is a French dessert wine with big fruity flavours which really matches the Bushmills spirit. The (Bushmills) Banyuls has a lovely profile, and each time you go back to it you find something different again. It's approachable, it's rounded, it has big flavours, but in a completely rounded way that anybody can enjoy. The finish is comforting with lovely warmth and roundness. It gives you that lovely feeling of a really nice whisky that you just want share with friends. The Banyuls is something really special.”
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Age: 10 Years Old
Maturation: Six and a half years in ex-Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks, then finished in ex-Banyuls casks for a further three and a half years
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Old Bushmill Distillery's History
Whiskey making has long been an Irish tradition, with monks known to have been distilling it as far back as the 11th Century. In fact, Ireland is believed to be the birthplace of whisk(e)y itself, the name coming from the Irish word ‘uisce’, meaning water. The spirit was often referred to as ‘uisce-breatha’, or ‘water of life’ (the Scottish equivalent is uisge-beatha). So now you know.
Origin: 2 Distillery Rd, Bushmills, County Antrim BT57 8XH, United Kingdom
Water Source: Saint Columb's Rill (a tributary of the River Bush)
Washbacks: Stainless Steel
Stills: Ten copper pot stills
Capacity: 4,500,000 litres per annum