I said on another forum recently that Highland Park 12 year was what first got me into whiskey properly but I was forgetting about my formative early drinking days and Bushmills Black Bush. I remember it was my go to drink when I had had enough of pint after pint of beer, and I really liked it.
This H2H pits a 2021 Black Bush against a 1970's offering, they are both good but so different, with few similarities.
BushmillsBlack bush 2021 40% WB ID 143013
Bushmills -Special Old Irish Whiskey Old Bushmills 70 proof 1970’s WB ID 178913
The older 70 proof is a shade darker than the 2021
I like the nose on this, there is a slight smoke note mixing with the vanilla and there is a slight chemical edge to it, not unpleasant, but it is there.
Pear, a little green apple and it is slightly vegetal
Masses of OBE, this smells totally different and in no way related to the 2021, not even distantly?
There is a bucket load of stewed fruit, apple, plum, a little peach, mango, pear but also hints of a garage workshop, petrol fumes, not so much peaty just dirty, there could be a little sulphur here.
I am really curious here, this could be great or utterly flawed?
Creamy, zingy & zesty, with lemon sherbet, a little raspberry, green apple, the initial hit of flavours is really nice.
Little ripe gooseberry comes in and faint hints of rhubarb juice, this is like a fruit cocktail, really good.
The liquid is more resinous than the 2021, fatter on the palate, with a little peat and truckloads of spice.
There is some vanilla, brioche but again this dirty note that makes it very interesting, possibly some cigar smoke in here, very pleasant indeed.
White pepper, faintest hint of menthol, no sulphur, stewed plum, green gooseberry, a little fig, lovely
At first I thought this was a little short but actually is fades gradually, it is not overly sweet, not a massive finish but long enough
Longer than the 2021, keeps you interested, no rough edges.
They are like chalk and and cheese, there is more to the 70 proof, it reeks of age and it has a dirty, gritty edge, almost industrial in taste and smell, not for everyone but it is one of the most different tastes I have had for many a year, almost odd, almost an off note of stewed in ripe fruit but that adds to the appeal for me.
The latest Black Bush 2021 is fresh, clean and zesty and again I really like it and in my view worth a much higher score than the average on this page.
BB is supposed to be 80% malt, both bourbon and oloroso but the latest version did not taste like that and not sure if the old one did either.
I think some people would say the old 70 proof had an off note but I think that adds to the charm, like nothing else I have tasted.
There are very few 70 proof at any auctions most of the oldest are from the 1980's and I am not interested in paying silly prices but I will definitely get a the latest Black Bush, much better than some single malts in the £25-£30 bracket