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Bushmills vs Sexton: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Bushmills vs Sexton in this head to head comparison and decide which Irish Whiskey is better for You!


NoseApple, grape, alcohol
PalateApple, cereal, sugar, vanilla
FinishShort, oak spice, caramel
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkCocktails
Similar toJameson, Black Bush

The nose brings an apple note, followed by a hint of grapes and a bit of alcohol coming behind, but nothing too severe.

On the palate, the Bushmills feels thin lacking in body. The first sip brings an apple juice flavor, with hints of toasted cereal, sugar, vanilla and oak.

The finish is short-lived, with oak spice bitterness, yet balanced against a charred caramel note that saves the day.

Not a lot going on here, there is nothing terribly wrong with this budget Irish Whiskey as it does not have any offensive tasting notes nor anything to write home about.

Definitely not something to sip neat, although it gets somewhat better on the rocks and becomes serviceable when looking for an affordable mixing whiskey.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Bushmills:

  • Aged five years in American oak casks before blending with Irish Single Malt.
  • Triple-distilled.
  • Bushmills is the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery, when in 1608, King James I granted Sir Thomas Phillips, a local land owner, the license to craft spirits. Although The Old Bushmills Distillery Company was established until 1784.

Sexton Single Malt

NoseOrange, lime, honey
PalateCaramel, grassy, lime, orange
FinishMalt, orange, lime
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water or ice
Similar toJameson

Sexton is a bit unique among Irish Whiskeys as it’s 100% Irish malted barley as opposed to most that are made from grains and malts and is triple-distilled using copper pots.

The nose is quite floral with little resemblance to a proper whiskey as it offers a high note of orange and lime, along honey.

On the palate, Sexton feels thin lacking in texture. Flavor hits with caramel at first but it also feels warmer than you would expect from something bottled at a mere 80 proof (40% ABV).

Caramel is followed by a charred grassy note, followed by orange and lime bitterness.

The finish has a decent length, with some warmth to it, leaving a malty aftertaste along orange and lime.

Adding water releases a bit of caramel, while tuning down the heat making it easier to drink.

Sexton Single Malt is weird, as it has aromas and flavors not typical of Irish Whiskey. It’s also warmer than a typical triple-distilled whiskey which in theory should make this pour smoother.

Not a bad whiskey but definitely not a “plain vanilla” pour as it offers “unique” notes and more warmth than the average Irish Whiskey.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Sexton Single Malt:

  • Aged for a minimum of 4 years in ex-oloroso sherry butts.
  • Comes in a solid black hexagonal bottle that stands-out in the cabinet.

What do Bushmills and Sexton have in common?

Both are crafted at the same distillery

Bushmills and Sexton are crafted at the same Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland as they are both owned by Mexico’s Jose Cuervo.

Jose Cuervo received the Bushmills Distillery as part of a payment from Diageo when the latter acquired Don Julio Tequila.

Bushmills vs Sexton: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:


Bushmills vs Sexton: Which is better?

The Sexton is a better tasting whiskey

  • If you are exclusively looking for a mixer to make easy homemade cocktails the Bushmills is a better choice as its super affordable price allows for experimentation.
  • The Sexton has some warmth to it and some “unique” tasting notes that make it better suited for drinking either with water or with a large ice ball.
  • Not the easiest whiskey as you have to develop a relationship with it to enjoy its flavor profile.