When in 2005 Diageo purchased Bushmills Distillery from Irish Distillers (owned by Pernod Ricard) it set ambitious goals for the brand .
Increasing global sales to 1 million bottles by 2012 and challenging Jameson for the no. 1 spot on the bestsellers list in the following years. The first objective was not achieved and the second will not be since in the late 2014 Diageo sold the brand and distillery to the producers of José Cuervo tequila. Bushmills 21 years old was introduced in 2001 and remains the oldest expression in the core range. The whisky was aged for a minimum of 19 years in-ex bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks, then transferred to ex-madeira casks for further 2 years. Between 2010 and 2015 Bushmills 21 years old was voted the best whiskey in its category for six consecutive years. About 900 cases are produced each year.
Nose: fruity with distinctive winey notes, oranges, apricots, apples, pears, mango, milk chocolate, marzipan, hazelnuts and cinnamon.
Palate: rich with lots of dried fruit, raisins, caramel, vanilla cream, marzipan, butterscotch, chocolate-coated hazelnuts, hints of cinnamon and oak.
Finish: medium long, initially sweet and fruity soon becoming spicy and okay with quite strong notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.