having been around for hundreds of years, i’ve heard practically every question from Bushmills lovers.
here are a few of the most frequently asked…...”


Purchasing BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey

1. Do you offer a mail order service?

BUSHMILLS by post is a great idea! The shop at the Old BUSHMILLS Distillery offers a mail order service to buy any of our BUSHMILLS products, shipping to the UK and Ireland. To place an order, call +44 28 2073 3268 or email mail.order.bushmills@diageo.com and you will be given a quote. Of course, the usual rules apply so you have to be 18 years or older to place and order with the service and will have to sign a form to confirm that.

Or, if you're living in the UK or Germany, you can buy Bushmills online at our friends at Alexander & James' UK store or German Store. They know a thing or two about whiskey and will be sure to look after you.

Not based in the UK or Ireland? Here are a few of our fine friends who ship worldwide and will only be too happy to accommodate you:

2. Where can I order BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey miniatures?

Small but perfectly formed, you can order BUSHMILLS miniatures from the shop at the Old BUSHMILLS Distillery if you live in the UK or Ireland. As before, to place an order just call +44 28 2073 3268 or email mail.order.bushmills@diageo.com and you will be given a quote. Even though the bottles aren’t grown up, you have to be. That means 18 years or older to place an order with the service and you will have to sign a form to confirm that.

Our popular miniatures can also be bought online from any of these fine fellows:

3. Can I buy BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey by the cask?

Have something special planned do you? Our casks need specialist care and attention to ensure the bottled BUSHMILLS you enjoy is of a consistent high quality, so we prefer to keep them here, at the Old BUSHMILLS Distillery. The only exception was for a very special event, with our Millennium Cask.

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

Oh that was a fine tot. BUSHMILLS Millennium Malt 25 Year Old was so popular, remaining cases are increasingly hard to find. But fear not, the odd case or two spring up in specialist whisk(e)y shops from time to time.

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 Malt if they don't have any in stock. Best of luck with the search.

5. Can I order personalised labels?

Of course. We have an option at the distillery to get personalised labels made for our BUSHMILLS 12 Year Old Single Malt Distillery Reserve. It really makes a lovely gift and costs £39.00, with personalised labels (excluding postage and packaging). Because of the special nature of this service it's only available at the Old BUSHMILLS Distillery.

But don’t worry if you can’t make it to the distillery, the distillery shop operates a mail order service to the UK and Ireland. To order please contact our mail order department at mail.order.bushmills@diageo.com or alternatively call +44 (0) 28 207 33268. And remember you will have to be 18 years or older to place and order with the service and will have to sign a form to confirm that.

6. Where can I buy BUSHMILLS Irish Cream?

We’re sorry to say that the production of BUSHMILLS Irish Cream has now ceased.

7. Where can I get hold of a bottle of BUSHMILLS 21 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey?

A fine choice if ever there was one.

BUSHMILLS 21 Year Old Single Malt is 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 or longer. The malt whiskey is then vatted and married for two years in former Madeira drums.

It’s a rare taste but the BUSHMILLS 21 Year Old Single Malt is also an extremely rare single malt Irish Whiskey, and only a very limited number of bottles are available each year. If you live in the UK or Ireland, you might be lucky enough to order one from the shop at the Old BUSHMILLS Distillery. To place an order, call +44 28 2073 3268 or email mail.order.bushmills@diageo.com and you will be given a quote. You have to be 18 years or older to place and order with the service and you will have to sign a form to confirm that.

The online whiskey retailer www.celticwhiskeyshop.com also stocks it when it’s available and operates a mail order service.

8. I bought a bottle of BUSHMILLS 12 Year Old Single Malt Distillery Reserve and loved it. Where can I get another?

You have a fine palate, that’s for sure.

Our BUSHMILLS 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve 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 Irish Whiskies, 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, and if you’re coming round you’re guaranteed a warm welcome. But if it’s just that bit too far the Old BUSHMILLS Distillery operates a mail order service to the UK and Ireland. To order please contact our mail order department at mail.order.bushmills@diageo.com or alternatively call +44 (0) 28 207 33268. You have to be 18 years or older to place and order with the service and you will have to sign a form to confirm that.

9. Can I order BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey in bulk?

Well, we all love a BUSHMILLS from time to time, but we don’t offer bulk sales I’m afraid.

10. What is BUSHMILLS 1608 and where can I get it?

It’s pure gold in a bottle, my friend. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the licence to distil granted to the BUSHMILLS area, the Old BUSHMILLS Distillery 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 whiskies (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. My advice is, when you find one, buy it.

BUSHMILLS 1608 is available in limited quantities in a few duty free stores only.

What makes BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey? 11. Is BUSHMILLS Kosher?

BUSHMILLS, BLACK BUSH, BUSHMILLS 10 Year Old Single Malt and BUSHMILLS 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve have been awarded Kosher status by the Chief Rabbinate of Ireland.

12. Is BUSHMILLS gluten free?

All BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskies are gluten free. The distillation process removes the gluten from the cereal.

13. Are you superstitious?

Well, I wouldn’t push my luck.

14. Is BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey suitable for vegans / vegetarians?

With the exception of our new BUSHMILLS Irish Honey which includes real Irish honey in its recipe, all our whiskies are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. They are made from barley (and other cereal grains for our blended whiskies: BUSHMILLS 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 Irish Whiskey products.

15. How many calories does a serving of BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey have?

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

16. What is the ABV of BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey?

All our whiskies are bottled at the alcoholic strength of 40% ABV (alcohol by volume), which is standard for whisk(e)y, except for BUSHMILLS 1608, which is bottled at the slightly higher strength of 46% ABV. In some markets, like South Africa, for local regulation reasons BUSHMILLS, BLACK BUSH and BUSHMILLS 10 Year Old Single Malt 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 some 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 whiskies will typically range from 50 to 60% ABV.

17. What grain is in BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey?

It depends. We make two broad types of whiskey at BUSHMILLS:

  1. Our BUSHMILLS Malt Whiskies, which are made from 100% malted barley
  2. Our blended Irish Whiskies (BUSHMILLS and BLACK BUSH), which 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 whiskies (malts and blends) there is triple-distilled whiskey made from 100% malted barley. This is a very distinct recipe, which gives all our whiskies a unique smoothness and rich honeyed sweetness.

18. Why is Irish Whiskey different to Scotch Whisky?

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

The Old BUSHMILLS Distillery
19. Can you send me details about how to visit the Old BUSHMILLS Distillery?

Of course, and a grand day out it is too. 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. Just remember to call ahead to let us know when you’d like to visit. That’s because we’re an actual working distillery so we do, on occasion, have to close certain parts for operational reasons. You can contact us on +44 (0) 28 207 33218, +44 (0) 28 207 33272 or email our tours department on visitors.bushmills@diageo.com.

Here’s some more information:

  • 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
Co Antrim
Northern Ireland BT57 8XH
Tel. +44 (0) 28 207 33 218

We hope to see you soon.

20. 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.

21. Can I take photographs while on the tour?

Ah, you won’t need to. The tour will stay ingrained in your memory, plus owing to health and safety reasons, we cannot allow photography inside 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 not permitted.

22. How do I apply for a job at the distillery?

We have a lovely close knit group of talented folk here. If you’re interested in any opportunities to join our family, please visit the Diageo website careers section www.diageo.com/careers.

Enjoying BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey (naturally)
23. How should I drink BUSHMILLS Irish 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. I love it most in the company of good friends. But let’s ask Colum, our Master Distiller…

“Hi folks, Colum here. Now, in my opinion, 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 mixing BUSHMILLS with some classic mixers like cola or ginger ale. These are great drinks, and because of the character of BUSHMILLS, you will still be able to taste the whiskey in them.”

Thanks Colum. If that hasn’t already whet your palate you can try and compare the rest of the BUSHMILLS family like BLACK BUSH and our BUSHMILLS Single Malts. The only thing we don’t recommend is mixing the older Malt variants with sodas or ice. Instead, try a little water. And remember, enjoy BUSHMILLS responsibly, it really is the best way.

24. How long can you store whiskey?

Ah, you strike me as someone who likes to savour their BUSHMILLS. The good news is that 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.

25. I have an interesting old BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey bottle / item? How do I find out more about it?

We’d be happy to help you out. So we can more accurately appraise your item or bottle, please send good quality photos to the lovely 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.

26. I have an old bottle of BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey, how much is it worth?

Great Irish Whiskey is our speciality. If it’s valuations you’re after, please 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.

27. 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 whiskies 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 whiskies 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%.

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

Our Master Distiller,loves his casks too much to part with them. Please feel free to visit the Old BUSHMILLS Distillery and spend some quality time in our cask room, the aromas are extraordinary. You find out more about arranging a visit in FAQ #8.

“Phew, I think that’s covered it.”