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General FAQ

If you’ve still got a question about Bushmills, take a look at the list below and see if we can answer it for you.

Purchasing Bushmills Whiskey

1. Do you offer a mail-order service for Bushmills whiskeys?

Unfortunately there’s not a Bushmills mail-order service but there are several sites where you can buy our whiskey.

2. Where can I order Bushmills miniatures?

We sell Bushmills to miniature manufacturers who bottle the whiskey and sell miniature packs (mainly online). There are many sites to choose from, here are just a few:

3. I would like to buy some Bushmills merchandise, where can I?

We now have an online shop where you can buy Bushmills merchandise. Go to www.bushmillsshop.co.uk. Alternatively, you can call 0870 759 1700 (0800 – 1800 Monday to Friday) or email customer.services@internetlogistics.com.

You need to be of legal drinking age in your country you're in to access the shop, so the link takes you to a page where you have to confirm your age and location before you're taken to the shop.

The entire range is not yet available for delivery across all countries, but it is available to most European countries and North America.

4. Can I buy Bushmills whiskey by the cask?

Sorry but we don’t sell Bushmills by the cask.

The only exception was for a very special event, with our Millennium Cask.

5. Where can I get hold of a bottle of Millennium Malt?

Bushmills Millennium Cask 25 Year Old is increasingly hard to find but sometimes the odd case or two spring up on offer with specialist whisk(e)y shops.

Try contacting the following Dublin and London-based retailers:

Both specialise in collectable and rare bottlings and may even be able to trace a bottle or two of Millennium Cask if they don't have any in stock.

6. Can I order personalised labels?

We do have an option at the distillery to get personalised labels made for our Bushmills 12 year old reserve. It really makes a lovely gift and costs £37.50 for the Distillery Reserve with personalised labels. Because of the special nature of this service it's only available at the Bushmills distillery.

7. Where can I buy Bushmills Irish Cream?

We have now ceased production of Bushmills Irish Cream as demand for the product has remained very small.

8. Where can I get hold of a bottle of Bushmills Malt 21 year old?

Bushmills Malt 21 year old is an extremely rare single malt Irish whiskey and only a very limited number of bottles are available each year.

It's matured for 21 years in three different types of cask. The whiskey is first aged in American bourbon barrels and Spanish Oloroso sherry casks for 19 years and upwards. The malt whiskey is then vatted and married for two years in former Madeira drums.

Unfortunately Bushmills 21 Year Old is not available to buy in shops in Great Britain. The online whiskey retailer www.celticwhiskeyshop.com stocks it when it’s available and operates a mail-order service.

9. I bought a bottle of Bushmills 12 year old distillery reserve and loved it. Where can I get another?

The only place we sell Bushmills 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve is in the distillery itself.

The Bushmills Malt 'Distillery Reserve' 12 Year Old, is matured mainly in former Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks which lend a deep amber colour and wonderful dried fruit aromas to this whiskey. Like all Bushmills whiskeys, it is gentle and approachable, with added weight.

It is only available to buy from the Distillery Shop, where you can also get a personalised label for your bottle.

10. Can I order Bushmills in bulk?

I am sorry but we do not supply Bushmills in bulk.

11. What is Bushmills 1608 and where can I get it?

In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the original licence to distil granted to the Bushmills area, the Bushmills Distillery has released a special, limited edition whiskey, Bushmills 1608.

True to the history of Ireland's oldest working whiskey distillery, Bushmills 1608 is a unique blend of tradition and innovation. It combines some classic features of our whiskeys (such as triple distillation, the use of fully malted barley or maturation in the finest quality oak casks) with a pioneering process: it was distilled using crystal malt, a special type of malted barley selected to deliver exceptional smoothness.

As of 2009 Bushmills 1608 Special Release will be available in duty free and from the distillery only.

12. What is your price list at the Distillery?

The prices of Bushmills whiskeys in our distillery gift shop are as follows:

Bushmills Original £13.50
Black Bush £15.49
Bushmills Malt 10 yo £20.50
Bushmills Malt 16 yo £40.00
Bushmills Malt 21 yo £100.00
Bushmills 1608 £49.00

We also sell a 12 year old reserve malt which you can only buy in the distillery for £30, or if you would like the label personalised, £37.50.

What makes Bushmills?

13. Is Bushmills Kosher?

Bushmills Original, Black Bush, 10 Year Old Single Malt, Bushmills Distillery Reserve and Bushmills Malt Select Casks have been awarded Kosher status by the Chief Rabbinate of Ireland.

Bushmills 1608, the special, limited edition whiskey in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the original licence to distil granted to the Bushmills area, was not included in last year's Kosher audit simply because it was not released at the time.

14. Is Bushmills gluten free?

All Bushmills whiskeys are gluten free. The distillation process removes the gluten from the cereal.

15. Is Bushmills suitable for vegans / vegetarians?

All our whiskeys are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. They are made from barley (and other cereal grains for our blended whiskeys: Bushmills Original and Black Bush), water and yeast. They are distilled and then matured in oak casks, which only previously contained spirit (typically, whiskey) or fortified wine (typically, sherry). No animal product is used in their production. There is no Isinglass in Bushmills products.

16. How many calories does a serving of Bushmills have?

A 25ml serving of Bushmills Original Whiskey has 56 kcal. For nutritional information on any of our brands, visit the Diageo website, www.knowyourdrink.com

17. What is the ABV of Bushmills whiskey?

All our whiskeys are bottled at the alcoholic strength of 40% abv (alcohol by volume), which is standard for whisk(e)y. Other than our recent addition to the range, Bushmills 1608, this is bottled at the slightly higher strength of 46% abv. In some markets, like South Africa, for local regulation reasons Original, Black Bush and Bushmills Malt 10 Year Old are bottled at 43% abv.

There have also been a series of limited edition, one-off bottlings, mainly drawn from single casks, released by the distillery until 2 years ago, which were bottled at 'natural cask strength' whose alcoholic strength was not brought down (as is normally standard practice) before bottling. These cask-strength whiskeys will typically range from 50 to 60% abv.

18. What grain is in Bushmills?

We make two broad types of whiskey at Bushmills:

  1. Our Bushmills malt whiskeys are made from 100% malted barley
  2. Our blended Irish whiskeys (Bushmills, Black Bush), are made from blending our malt whiskey with a lighter type of whiskey, called grain whiskey. Grain whiskey is made from a small proportion of malted barley and other grains. The most commonly used grains for this whiskey in Ireland are wheat and maize/corn. Rye is not a grain commonly used in Ireland (or Scotland) for whiskey production.

The type of grain used in whisk(e)y production bears a significant influence on the taste and character of the resulting product.

Here at Bushmills, we insist on our malted barley. At the heart of all our whiskeys (malts and blends) there is triple-distilled whiskey made from 100% malted barley. This is a very distinct recipe, which gives all our whiskeys a unique smoothness and rich honeyed sweetness.

19. Why is Irish Whiskey different to Scotch Whiskey?

Irish whiskey is quite a distinct product to Scotch. It is typically a lighter, smoother type of whiskey. As for Bushmills whiskeys, they are quite versatile. We make whiskeys which are light in style but full of character. That means they can be enjoyed in many ways. Our main brand, Bushmills Original, for instance, is soft enough to be enjoyed straight on its own, and has enough character to retain its flavour when mixed.

The Bushmills Distillery

20. Can you send me details about how to visit the Bushmills distillery?

If there are 15 people or less in your party you will not need to pre-book you can just join in a tour on the day.

Please note:

  • The tour is a walking tour, involving climbing stairs and is therefore not suitable for wheelchair users or anyone with a walking difficulty.
  • On occasions there may be parts of the distillery not in production and occasionally we may be required to close without prior notice.
  • Tickets are sold on a first come first serve basis.
  • For security reasons, children under 8 years old are not permitted to production areas and therefore cannot join guided tours, but are welcome in the coffee shop and gift shop.

Bushmills is easily accessible by public transport. You can get a train or a bus from Belfast. Check out www.translink.co.uk to plan your journey.

Our address is:

The Old Bushmills Distillery
2, Distillery Road
Bushmills
Co Antrim
Northern Ireland BT57 8XH
Tel. +44 (0) 28 207 33 218

21. Are your tours in other languages?

The majority of our tours are conducted in English. We host language tours only for large booked groups. The general public can join these groups if they speak the language that the tour is being conducted in. We cannot guarantee individuals a language tour.

To help non English speaking visitors we have printed brochures in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese.

22. Can I take photographs while on the tour?

Unfortunately due to health and safety reasons, we cannot allow photography inside the distillery as it is a fully operational working distillery. In all work areas on the site - particularly inside the distillery wall - photography can trigger a risk of fire and is therefore prohibited.

23. How do I apply for a job at the Distillery?

Please visit the Diageo website careers section www.diageo.com/careers

Enjoying Bushmills

24. How should I drink Bushmills whiskey?

It's really up to you. We only recommend that you drink it the way you prefer. Some people enjoy it straight, with ice or with water. Others prefer it with a mixer, such as ginger ale or cola.

Maybe the best way to approach this and get a full picture of our whiskey is to pour a measure of Bushmills in a short, open tumbler. Try a small sip of it neat to start with – it's far better to take a tiny sip and let the whiskey sit and develop in your mouth for a few seconds than to take more whiskey and drink it too quickly. It's a nice way to get to know its flavour and you'll discover that our whiskey does not burn or bite.

Then, try it with a drop or two of water, and with an ice cube. You'll notice that water opens up the flavours of the whiskey. And it tends to make the whiskey taste sweeter. On the nose, it really opens the whiskey and reveals its subtler aromas. Ice, as you would expect, makes our whiskey taste more refreshing.

Finally, try and mix Bushmills with some classic mixers like cola or ginger ale. These are great drinks, and because of Bushmills character, you will still be able to taste the whiskey in them.

Also, if you're keen to explore, you can try and compare the rest of the Bushmills family like Black Bush and our Bushmills Malt variants. The only thing we don't recommend is mixing the older Malt variants with sodas or ice. Instead, try a little water.

25. Can I have the recipe for a hot toddy / Irish coffee?

  • BUSHMILLS Burning Bush
  • 1½ oz BUSHMILLS Original Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz honey
  • 3 oz hot water
  • Lemon wedge plucked with cloves

Place lemon wedge in toddy glass.

Pour whiskey and honey over lemon.

Fill with water

Fill with water

  • BUSHMILLS Irish Coffee
  • 1½ oz BUSHMILLS Original Irish Whiskey
  • 1½ oz BUSHMILLS Original Irish Whiskey
  • 1-2 tsp Sugar
  • Slightly whipped heavy cream

Pour coffee into warmed glass mug.

Add sugar to taste, stir to dissolve.

Add whiskey.

Top with whipped cream, poured gently over the back of a spoon.

Enjoy!

26. How long can you store whiskey?

Whisk(e)y does not age once it is bottled, and there's no need for the cork or closure to be kept humid while storing - as is the case for wine, which is best kept laid down. So it's fine to keep your whiskey stored upright in a dark, cool place. The main two potential 'threats' to a whiskey's quality over prolonged periods of storage are exposure to excessive heat or very strong direct sunlight.

So by keeping your whiskey stored upright in a temperate (or even cool) room, away from direct sunlight or a strong heat source, you should be able to keep your whiskey for years without any problems.

Once opened, nevertheless, you should be aware that your bottle of whiskey will lose a bit of its 'durability', because of increased potential of oxidation. This does not affect whisk(e)y in any comparable way as it affects wine, but it can still impact whiskey over prolonged periods. So it is recommended, for instance, not to keep whiskey for over a year in a bottle which is less than half full. The risk is that some of the whiskey's aromas will evaporate and the resulting whiskey will have lost part of its flavour and character. The whiskey will remain drinkable obviously, but less enjoyable.

Old Bushmills

27. I have an old bottle of Bushmills, how much is it worth?

Unfortunately we do not give out valuations but you could contact McTears Auctioneers (enquiries@mctears.co.uk) who can provide a valuation for a fee or search the archived catalogues on the McTears website www.mctears.co.uk to see what similar bottles have been sold for in the past.

28. I have an interesting old Bushmills bottle / item? How do I find out more about it?

To help us more accurately appraise your item or bottle, please send good quality photos to Christine McCafferty in our archive department. You can email her at Christine.J.McCafferty@diageo.com. Please include detailed close up pictures of the front and back labels, the seal, and a close up of embossing on the sides, if there is any.

29. What is the difference between the 'old' 1608 and the 'new' 1608?

The old 'Bushmills 1608 Reserve' (now discontinued for over five years) is a very different whiskey to Bushmills 1608 'Anniversary Edition'.

Firstly, these whiskeys were made to different recipes. The old 1608 Reserve was a great whiskey, and was a good starting point when we started to think about our Anniversary celebration bottling. We liked the 1608 Reserve's combination of depth of character and elegant smoothness. And we were looking for a truly exceptional version of our whiskey, which would take these qualities even further, especially in terms of smoothness. We constructed the new recipe around a batch of Bushmills malt whiskey distilled using crystal malt - the result of an experiment we conducted over 10 years ago. This had an incredible silky mouth feel. It was not perfect on its own though, so we combined it with 'classic' Bushmills malt whiskey from both American oak and Spanish oak casks, as well as a small proportion of Irish grain whiskey for a lively, sweet edge. The heart of the blend, the 'crystal malt whiskey', is very much the key difference between this new whiskey and the old 1608 Reserve. We did adapt the other whiskeys in the recipe to complement the character of this core whiskey, so they too are different (both in terms of age and proportion) to the ones used for the 1608 Reserve, but in short, it all revolves around this very special crystal malt whiskey.

Secondly, we bottled Bushmills 1608 'Anniversary Edition' at the slightly higher than normal strength of 46% (alcohol by volume), with no chill filtration. This process ensures that the bottled whiskey retains a lot of its great silky mouth feel, whilst delivering optimum flavour development. The former 1608 Reserve was bottled at 40%.

30. Can you send me one of your old barrels?

We do not give away or sell our old barrels.