Friday 21 September 2012

Bushmills Irish Honey now in Ireland

I posted about Bushmills Irish Honey last March, when it was launched in the US. In late August it finally surfaced in Ireland, at least in Dublin airport, where I spotted it.

To be fair to Bushmills, I must declare that I don't like the taste of honey. I got a sample of it in the airport shop in a little cup, though, and didn't pick up so much on the honey. I was more struck by a hit of vanilla which might be one of the "other natural flavours" they coyly allude to on the label. Anyway, I thought it was safe enough to invest in a litre bottle (€28) for later exploration.

Pouring it into a big glass, I realised that they hadn't stinted on the honey after all. It's big on the nose and the palate, which I found hard going initially. I'm revisiting it tonight though, and I'm making better headway.

At 35%, and perhaps with a coating effect from the honey, there is no alcohol burn at all, just a gentle warming on the finish. I imagine this was a large part of the rationale for introducing the product, ie that it might snare the non-whiskey drinker.

The honey lingers far too long for me but I find that tossing an ice cube in adjusts the balance nicely. Now I get a different, less honey-like sweetness and it's a lot easier to pick out the pears that the official tasting notes describe. The finish is more HobNob than honey, which I don't mind at all.

I suspect Bushmills Irish Honey will be more often drunk mixed than neat so let's throw in some Coke Zero (all I have to hand) to finish. Oh, very drinkable. It tastes like one of those fancy colas "brewed from botanicals".

We might be seeing the start of a trend in flavoured Irish whiskeys here. Jameson recently launched it's own trial in Australia: Jameson Cloudy Apple and Jameson Raw Cola. I've always thought Irish whiskey mixes well so I'm sure there's a market for these experiments. Try them on whiskey sceptics you know. It might lure them a little closer to the dark side.