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Bushmills Black Bush vs Jameson Black Barrel: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Bushmills Black Bush vs Jameson Black Barrel in this in-depth comparison and decide which Whiskey is better for You!

Bushmills Black Bush

bushmills-black-bush
NoseSherry, dried fruit, oak
PalateVanilla, ripe fruit, baking spice
FinishLong, ripe fruit, oak spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toRedbreast 12

The nose hits with a bit of alcohol at first, but it quickly fades out into a rich sherry aroma, followed by dried fruit and a tad of oak.

On the palate, the Black Bush feels just a bit thin lacking in body. Flavor is mostly sweet and smooth with hints of ripe fruit and vanilla, followed by a cinnamon note adding a nice spicy touch.

The finish lingers more than expected for a whiskey at this price, bringing a sweet ripe fruit note along a bit of oak spice, but nothing severe.

The Black Bush is aged for 7 to 11 years, using a combination Oloroso Sherry Wine casks and ex-bourbon barrels.

This makes the Black Bush a huge upgrade over the Bushmills Original as the bitter notes of the latter have vanished striking a much more enjoyable whiskey.

In fact, the Black Bush drinks more like a Speyside Scotch Whisky, making an affordable option to the Macallan 12 Sherry Oak!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Bushmills Black Bush:

  • Triple-distilled ensuring smoothness.
  • The Black Bush is a blend of 80% malt whiskey and 20% grain whiskey.
  • Founded in 1608 is the oldest functioning distillery in the British Isles.

Jameson Black Barrel

jameson-black-barrel-whiskey
NoseCaramel, oak, smoke
PalateCaramel, vanilla, cereal
FinishMedium, roasted nuts
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkRocks
Similar toJohnnie Walker Black Label

The Black Barrel takes the classic Jameson Whiskey as its base but is aged in heavily charred bourbon barrels. This adds a deep amber hue to the Whiskey along some tasting notes that make it more interesting.

The nose is sweet, with hints of caramel, charred oak and just a touch of smoke.

On the palate, the Black Barrel feels a bit peppery at first, but nothing too severe. The peppery taste gives way to a rich caramel flavor, along sweet vanilla, toasted cereal and a tiny hint of smoke.

The finish has a medium length, with a hint of roasted nuts, charred oak and very little warmth to it.

Adding water releases a bit of caramel but doesn’t change the flavor by much.

Overall, the Jameson Black Barrel is a more interesting whiskey than the regular Jameson. More tasty as the charred oak added value to the dram and yet smooth making something that drinks nicely on the rocks.

Yet, I still prefer the old Jameson to make cocktails!

There are a facts worth knowing about the Jameson Black Barrel:

  • Comprised of a high proportion of single pot still and grain whiskey aged first in a mix of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks.
  • Finished in extra charred ex-bourbon barrels.
  • Age ranges from 8-16 years.
  • This whiskey is triple-distilled which is the norm in the Irish whiskey industry. Most spirits are double-distilled but the Irish add a distillation as they like smooth liquors.

Bushmills Black Bush vs Jameson Black Barrel: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Bushmills Black Bush$30
Jameson Black Barrel$30

Bushmills Black Bush vs Jameson Black Barrel: Which is better?

Bourbon lovers are more likely to like the Black Barrel

WhiskeyBlack BarrelRedbreast
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • If you are into bourbon and enjoy whiskeys like Elijah Craig or Wild Turkey with distinctive charred oak notes you are more likely to like the Black Barrel over the Black Bush.

  • If you are more fond of sweet sherried Scotch then the Black Bush should be your warrior.

  • If you are neither a bourbon aficionado nor a Scotch lover but prefer smooth and easy whiskeys the Black Bush will be your better option.

Both the Black Bush and the Black Barrel are massive improvements over the classic Bushmills and Jameson Whiskeys.

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