The Sexton Single Malt

Maker: Proximo, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA (Beckmann Family)

Distillery: Undisclosed but almost certainly Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK

Style: Sherry cask Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Sge: NAS (4 y/o according to some other reviewers)

ABV: 40% (Bottle reads: “80 proof”)

Michigan State Minimum: $32

Appearance: Dark Copper.

Nose: Old sherry, oak, peach.

Palate: Medium bodied and sweet. Mango, apple, vanilla, caramel.

Finish: Creamy, with stone fruit and alcohol.

Parting words: The first thing that stands out about The Sexton is the, uh, unique bottle. It resembles a giant hexagonal inkwell, uses a variety of fonts, all in gold type, and features a skeleton wearing a top hat. What is the significance of it all? I have no idea. If you ever find out, please let me know.

The whiskey itself is slightly less mysterious. The left side of the label (which you have to turn the bottle to read) claims that it was distilled in County Antrim in (Northern) Ireland. Knowledgeable whiskey enthusiasts know what this means: Bushmills. Add to that the fact that the brand is owned by Proximo, which also owns Bushmills, makes this an open and shut case. Perhaps this was an attempt to move an excess of sherried Malt Proximo had sitting around the distillery.

Despite the weird packaging and half-assed attempts at misdirection, this is actually pretty good. America seems to agree with me (for once), since The Sexton is apparently the best selling Single Malt Irish Whiskey in the country. It’s not as interesting as Connemara or some of the other Irish Single Malts available in Michigan, but it is a lot cheaper, half the price in some cases. The sherry is not overwhelming either, which is a big plus to me, a person who doesn’t like sherry all that much.

Anyway, The Sexton Single Malt is a good sip and a good baragain. It is recommended.

Red Bush

Maker: Old Bushmills Distillery, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK (Cuervo)20180308_162407.jpg

Age: NAS

Style: Bourbon barrel aged, triple distilled Irish blend.

ABV: 40%

Michigan state minimum: $25

Appearance: Medium-light copper.

Nose: Blackberry jam, grape juice, Cognac, bubble gum.

Palate: Full-bodied and mellow. Grape soda, oak, sweet bourbon.

Finish: Fruity and long with a little burn.

Mixed: Did well with coffee and with classic cocktails with sweet vermouth. Clashed with dry vermouth and similar mixers.

Parting words: Red Bush is intended to be a gateway Irish whiskey for bourbon drinkers. Unlike the standard “white bush” expression and the more expensive Black Bush that both use a mix of bourbon and sherry casks, Red Bush is made using first (re)fill bourbon barrels exclusively. That gives it a fruity sweetness that makes it an easy drinker and mixer for American palates that aren’t accoustomed to sherry flavors.

Along with stablemate Black Bush and Scotch blend Highland Queen, Red Bush’s name lends itself to cheap, vulgar puns. I’m not the sort of person to engage in such things, but I will say that Red Bush is a fun change of pace for St. Patrick’s day with a good mouthfeel and pleasant aroma. Red Bush is recommended.

Bushmills Irish Whiskey

Maker: Old Bushmills Distillery, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland (Diageo)

Age: NAS

ABV: 40%

Appearance: Burnt Orange, with a thick, clingy pearl necklace around the glass.

Nose: Tropical fruit salad. Papaya, pear, vanilla.

On the palate: Full-bodied, but light in flavor. Well-balanced between malty, floral flavors and heavy caramel ones.

Finish: Light and slightly sweet with a hint of vanilla. A little burn gives the finish some backbone.

Parting words: There’s an urban legend that only Irish Catholics drink Jameson and only Irish Protestants drink Bushmills. Any true Irish whiskey lover of any religion drinks whatever whiskey they like. So yes, it’s ok to drink Bushmills on St. Patrick’s day.

Compared to its peers, Bushmills strikes a balance between the floral tastes and aromas of Jameson and the relatively heavy caramel, grain whiskey flavors of Powers. Bushmills has a nice balance to it and avoids being dull like Tullamore. Bushmills won’t get mistaken for an upper shelf whiskey, but on the whole, it’s better than its peers. Bushmills is recommended.