The trend for whisk(e)y liqueurs and flavoured whisk(e)y shows no sign of abetting, but whereas it’s typically the whiskey producers of the US who are innovating in this field, today’s focus is on one from Ireland: Bushmills Irish Honey.
It is worth noting that this is described as a “Spirit Drink“ and not a whiskey liqueur; this is because it has less sugar in it than a liqueur. It’s a blend of Bushmills whiskey, Irish honey and other natural flavours, and is bottled at 35%ABV.
On its own
Nose: Rather bourbon-esque and not too heavy or overly honeyed. Light wood and grain notes are balanced by a comforting, but subtle level of sweetness. I get hints of malt, too.
Taste: Very smooth, but by no means sweet, this is inoffensive and easy to drink. The flavours are straightforward: sweet grain and malt, with odd hints of floral honey scattered throughout. The finish is lightly dry, with subtle notes of grain.
[One Shot of Hot Espresso, 25ml Bushmills Honey, Layer Cream on Top]
A malty nose with hints of honey backs up a decidedly non-sweet Irish Coffee. What’s great about this as an Irish Coffee is that you could easily tweak the sweetness level to your own personal preference, rather than be stuck with a sickly drink. The woody notes and warmth from the spirit come through initially, followed by the coffee and then a dry, creamy finish (I’d also like to try this with a spoonful of brown sugar).
This is a smooth and accessible drink, especially when sipped neat, but neither the honey, nor the whiskey notes are particularly strong. If you’re after something less subtle, you might be better with one of the honey flavoured bourbons (e.g. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jim Beam Honey, or Evan Williams Honey Reserve Liqueur). However, if you find the whiskey liqueurs too sweet, or just want to experiment with cocktails using a honeyed whiskey where you can better control the sweetness, Bushmills Irish Honey could be worth a try.
– Mrs. B.