It doesn’t really take long to get the sense that Irish whiskey has gone from strength to strength in recent years. While our most famous labels have always been a shared sight all over the world, our premium spirits are being sought after to an extent that rivals our Scotch whisky neighbours.
ne recent example of this was The Causeway Collection from Bushmills, first released in 2020. Specially produced in small batches and finished using a range of different cask and wood types, these scarce Irish whiskies didn’t take long to become the prized possessions of many connoisseurs.
This was only the beginning. Bushmills have announced two exciting additions to the collection that they expect to sell out quickly after release.
Distilled using water fresh from the River Bush in County Antrim, the craft that went into every bottle is what makes them so special. Whether you’re in the market for a gift or want to add to your own collection, make no mistake about how special this collection will be.
The two new releases are the 2011 Sauternes Cask Finish, and the 1995 Marsala Cask Finish. Both come with an thoroughly rare flavour profile unlike anything else on the Irish market, owning one of these whiskies will make you part of a very exclusive club!
2011 Sauternes Cask Finish
After maturing for over seven years in oloroso sherry butts and bourbon barrels, this exceptional whiskey was finished in scarce Sauternes wine casks from Bordeaux. This produced an abundance of delicate summer fruit flavours and fresh grapes, making it a particularly uncommon experience.
- Colour: Amber gold
- Nose: Delicate aromas of fresh white wine that deepen into mature peaches and apricots with a hint of vanilla sweetness
- Taste: Our identifying characteristics Bushmills sweet and spicy flavours give way to layers of vanilla and honey, followed by hints of citrus and toffee apple
- Finish: A long and warming summer fruits finish
1995 Marsala Cask Finish
After maturing for over 10 years in oloroso sherry butts and bourbon barrels, this triple wood-aged malt was finished in scarce Marsala casks sourced from the island of Sicily. The whiskey was matured in these exceptional casks for 15 years, creating a complicate and high flavour that would be impossible to match!
- Colour: Antique gold
- Nose: complete-bodied with an intriguing aroma of dried fruit, spices and charred wood notes
- Taste: thorough high honey character with spiced fruit undertones and pleasing notes of sweet nuts derived from oloroso sherry casks. The Marsala wine cask imparts notes of caramelised brown sugar with hints of char and roasted black coffee
- Finish: complicate flavours linger on the palate in a long finish with hints of warming ginger
In a time when Irish artists and performers are recovering from an exceptionally challenging period, a short film has been produced to set afloat the collection. Blending the strength of words with music and imagery, it’s a powerful way to create something as rare as the whiskey itself.
Poetry by Stephen James Smith
With his poem to be accompanied by a personal photo essay by Ruth Medjber and music from Kormac, Dubliner Stephen James Smith spoke to us ahead of the set afloat.
To listen to Stephen’s evocative poem, click here.
Anyone familiar with Stephen’s work knows that human connections are a meaningful inspiration behind what he creates. The poet, who performed a powerful reading of his piece “Dublin, You Are” on the Late Late Show last year, said that meeting people is what often motivates him to put pen to paper.
“Meeting people, that’s really what inspires me. already that piece that I’m probably best known for, the piece about Dublin; the people of Dublin and especially of that city and trying as best as I can to connect and represent those people,” he said.
His approach to launching this new collection of exclusive whiskey was no different, and naturally the world’s oldest licenced whiskey distillery is bound to have stories to tell. Speaking to the people behind the scenes helped draw the kind of connections he was looking for to create a piece of poetry that reflects how special this scarce collection will be.
“How do I connect with Bushmills? It was by the people. I met Colum (Egan), who is the master distiller from Laois and I got to hear all about him… I met some great people here and they really inspired me to be able to write,” he said.
In his time with the distillery, Stephen was also able to meet with third and fourth generation coopers who showed him the tools and tricks of the trade. From feeling the weight of the barrels to learning how they seal the timber or disinfect cuts and splinters, it’s this first-hand experience that will add an additional inner of authenticity to the piece.
“I currently live in Wexford, and moved there in January. Having been to Bushmills before and knowing the area a little bit, I could have drawn on that experience but it wouldn’t have been as authentic,” he said.
As in-person events start to become a possibility once again and artists like Stephen can regain a platform to promote their craft, he said that exciting plans are in the works. A tour next spring is definitely something to keep an eye on, and the fact he is currently recording an album will be gladly received by any fans of this gifted Irish artist.
To find out more or buy from the collection, click here.
Following the success of last year’s exclusive and elusive release, the new 2021 Causeway Collection features two bottlings exclusively released for the island of Ireland, the 2011 Sauternes Cask, a first for Bushmills Irish Whiskey, and a 1995 Marsala Cask.
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