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Bushmills Launches Rare Cask 04 Irish Single Malt Whiskey

Bushmills Launches Rare Cask 04 Irish Single Malt Whiskey

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This month, Bushmills‘ Rare Casks series comes to a conclusion with the release of a new 31-year-old Irish single malt whiskey. This is the oldest one in the series, and it was matured unlike any of the other releases—this whiskey spent more than half its time aging inside virgin oak barrels, the same type that are used to mature bourbon.

All of the whiskeys in the Rare Casks series are older single malts that got lengthy maturation periods in different types of barrels: The first release was a 28-year-old single malt that spent 17 years in Cognac casks sourced from France; the second was a 29-year-old single malt which spent that same amount of time in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks from Spain; and the third was a 30-year-old whiskey that spent 17 years in first-fill Madeira wine barrels. Rare Cask 04 is a 31-year-old single malt that spent 14 years maturing in ex-bourbon and sherry casks before being moved into new American oak barrels that were toasted to Bushmills‘ specifications, and over the past few years the whiskey was watched over by Alex Thomas, who was appointed master blender in 2021.

According to the brand, this secondary maturation was meant to mark “the deep-rooted connections between Ireland and the United States,” which makes sense given that bourbon must be aged in new charred oak, and after being used once those barrels are sent to Ireland, Scotland, and other countries to be refilled with whiskey (and whisky) as well as other spirits. We got an early sample of the new Rare Cask 04, and it’s an elegant and refined Irish single malt. Despite having spent so long in new oak, which can sometimes overwhelm a spirit, the palate is a spicy fruit bowl that is bursting with fresh red berries, orange, apple, vanilla, black pepper, and chocolate. There is a bit of tannic char present as well, but surely the more forgiving climate of Northern Ireland, as compared to Kentucky, allowed this whiskey to soak up flavor from virgin oak without going overboard.

There are just 780 bottles available of Bushmills Rare Cask 04, which has a price tag of $2,600. You can currently find it for sale via ReserveBar, along with the entire Bushmills catalog of blended whiskeys and single malts.

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