Bushmills Distillery, is located in the small village of Bushmills in County Antrim, on the banks of the River Bush. It is the world’s oldest distillery, it was granted a licence by King James I in 1608, and is Ireland’s oldest working distillery, it has been producing fine whiskey’s since its conception. It is now owned by Jose Cuervo, the Mexican tequila manufacturer, returning it to independent ownership but, has retained its old traditional methods. A unique aspect of this distillery is that malt distilling, blending, maturation and bottling are all carried out on the one site. Generations of families have worked here keeping to the philosophy that hand crafting small batches is the best way to make beautiful smooth tasting whiskey. It is the only distillery in Ireland to produce a triple-distilled single malt whiskey.
Bushmill’s whiskey is made with Irish barley and from a local water source, St Columb’s Rill, a tributary of the River Bush, it is then matured in oak barrels to give it its distinctive smoothness and richness. A occurrence during ageing, is the loss of spirit through evaporation, and is known as “the angels share”, all of this as well as the complete process from barley to barrel will be explained in detail by your experienced tour guide, they are knowledgable and enthusiastic. A tour takes you around the actual factory and through the various processes, you will get to see the copper potstills used in the distillation process and much more. Tours are fascinating and informative and last about forty five minutes. The best part of the tour according to many is the end when you receive your free sample of choice from the Bushmills range, or a soft drink. If you do not wish to take the tour there is an introductory video you can watch to get an insight into the process.
Tours operate seven days a week, with shorter winter operating hours. Tour places are limited and subject to availability so best to book in advance. Children under 8 are not permitted on tours.
Spend some time in the 1608 Bar, sampling the great range of whiskies. There is also a nice restaurant where lunches are served as well as Bushmills inspired treats.
There is a gift shop where you can make a purchase from the Bushmils range, of five award winning whiskies or their Distillery Reserve which is only available to buy here. There are other items of merchandise available.