Bushmills 1995 25Y Causeway Malaga Casks 53.5%

Nose: When I first got serious about triathlons, I went through a phase of trying to make my own energy sources, given the disastrous effects on my stomach 20 miles in from the commercial ones. And after a variety of experiments, concluded date paste was my favorite base. Dates, dried apricot and nut butter, almond or cashew. Dusty and dry stacked wood cord. Stale chocolate crunch bar from last Halloween – which to be straight up, is my favorite form of chocolate. The alcohol is overly present on the nose, blocking some of the more subtle notes… I keep hoping it will fade but it hasn’t much. Not a rocking nose, but it’s alright.

Palate: Dry and well spiced. Bayleaf. Coriander and cumin. I love to add oil which has held chiles de arbol, spicy, a touch of earthy fruitfulness. I wonder if anyone ever makes a spicy creme brûlée. That could be worth the novelty. And the taste in my mouth from when we burn sage. Cacao nibs with dried blueberries.

Rating: 6 / 10 – While the nose is a shrug off, the palate is legitimately interesting. The mouthfeel is a delightful journey into the land of spices. The age and rarity of this is fun, but I’ve had Bushmills I loved, and this isn’t a keeper.