Bushmills 1608 Anniversary Edition was released in 2008 to celebrate Bushmills’ 400th anniversary. (On April 20, 1608, King James I granted the Governor of Co Antrim a license to distil in the area.)
What makes this whiskey unique is the use of crystal (aka "caramel") malt in the grain bill:
'...This special type of malted barley is obtained by gently roasting the germinated barley corns while still moist, which partly crystallizes the grains and enhances the natural sweetness of the malt. When carefully distilled and matured, crystal malt delivers exceptional smoothness as well as distinct toffee and chocolaty note.
This crystal malt whiskey is carefully blended with classic Bushmills malt whiskey matured in a combination of American oak casks and Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks, lending notes of vanilla and honey, dried fruit and nuts to the final blend. There is also a small proportion of aged Irish grain whiskey contributing a sweet, fresh crisp note to Bushmills 1608.
Bushmills 1608 is bottled at the slightly higher than normal strength of 46% ABV for optimum flavour development.'
Jim Murray awarded the blend 94 points.
World Whiskies Awards, 2012 - Best Irish Blended Whiskey (No Age Statement)
International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2009 - Gold (Best In Class)
International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2008 - Gold (Best In Class)
World Whiskies Awards, 2008 - Best Irish Blended Whiskey (No Age Statement)