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Bushmills 1608 (not!)

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Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby Iain » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:31 pm

To return to an old chestnut - what is it with Diageo and this pretend foundation date for Bushmills? It was all over the UK press and media last week.

The distillery wasn't founded in 1608. It is not the oldest in the world. In that respect it is a phoney.

As Jim Murray has written, in his usual forthright style, ""the Bushmills Old Distillery Co was not formed until 175 years later."

There are those who believe it wasn't even founded in 1784. Charles Craig could find no evidence of a distillery on the site prior to 1833.

Jim Murray points out (Classic Irish Whiskey, p55) that Middleton Distillery has exactly the same right to claim a 1608 foundation date. In other words, a spurious one.

I'm boycotting the stuff, until Diageo stops telling fibs.

(Yes, I appreciate that last statement will have the world's biggest booze company quaking in its boots :wink: )
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby DavidH » Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:18 pm

I feel it's a bit in poor taste too. We are talking about a time when the Catholic landowners were being driven off their lands in Northern Ireland, to be replaced by loyal Protestants. The guy who received this 1608 licence to distil was Sir Thomas Phillips who received land from the King for his service in ridding the place of Catholics.

Now I don't get upset about history but given that the wounds of the Plantation of Ulster still hadn't healed by the late 20th century, why did Bushmills think it was good idea to invent a link to it?
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby Aidan » Sun Apr 27, 2008 6:06 am

And Kilbeggan is the oldest licenced distillery in the world. It has continuously held the licence since 1757, I think. And it's distilling again.

I think David pointed out on another thread that Diageo are softening the line on the 1608 oldest distillery thing. I don't think they say they're established since that date on the new packaging.
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby jimidrammer » Sun Apr 27, 2008 4:33 pm

From the blurb on the box of the new 1608 Anniversary Edition:

"On 20th April 1608, A licence was granted to Sir Thomas Phillips to "make, draw and distil 'uisce beatha' within the territory called the Rowte in County Antrim."

Is that not implying "established"?

I won't boycott them because of a corporate marketing decision. It has little to do with the art of distilling a quality product.
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby DavidH » Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:28 pm

jimidrammer wrote:"On 20th April 1608, A licence was granted to Sir Thomas Phillips to "make, draw and distil 'uisce beatha' within the territory called the Rowte in County Antrim."

Is that not implying "established"?

What they don't say is that whiskey was actually made under this licence. Phillips might well have been establishing the commercial value of his land without any intention of producing whiskey.
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby IainB » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:51 pm

Doesn't bother me. I like the whiskey and we all know the marketing is waffle anyway. Is it any different to Diageo's classic malts of Scotland - ignore a whole region, imply that these are "the" classic malts of these regions. It is still a great marketing idea.
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby Lawrence » Thu May 01, 2008 12:35 am

Hello?? All this hullabaloo was start long before Diageo even owned Bushmills.......... however it's just marketing.

"On 20th April 1608, A licence was granted to Sir Thomas Phillips to "make, draw and distil 'uisce beatha' within the territory called the Rowte in County Antrim."

and this statement is a long way from saying established in 1608 on every bottle.
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri May 02, 2008 5:23 pm

I think their latest claim now is the oldest continuous working distillery (1784) to get at Kilbeggan for their claim of 1757 (which was closed for 55years).

But they still lump out the license to distill since 1608 mumbo jumbo which we all know is poppy cock :wink: :P
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby DavidH » Fri May 02, 2008 5:39 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:I think their latest claim now is the oldest continuous working distillery (1784) to get at Kilbeggan for their claim of 1757 (which was closed for 55years).

One could counter that Bushmills burned to the ground in 1885 so the distillery "only" dates from then.
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri May 02, 2008 10:45 pm

DavidH wrote:
irishwhiskeychaser wrote:I think their latest claim now is the oldest continuous working distillery (1784) to get at Kilbeggan for their claim of 1757 (which was closed for 55years).

One could counter that Bushmills burned to the ground in 1885 so the distillery "only" dates from then.



Yes I see where you are coming from there but in the case of a distillery you really are referring to it as an producing entity rather than morter and bricks.

In my eyes a distillery is still a producing entity when they are releasing maturing stocks even if they are not distilling. Bushmills pretty much got straight back into action after a quick rebuild so I would not pull then up on that :wink: .
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby DavidH » Fri May 02, 2008 11:04 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:Yes I see where you are coming from there but in the case of a distillery you really are referring to it as an producing entity rather than morter and bricks.

In my eyes a distillery is still a producing entity when they are releasing maturing stocks even if they are not distilling. Bushmills pretty much got straight back into action after a quick rebuild so I would not pull then up on that :wink: .

So that would make Jameson the oldest continuous working distillery in Ireland, yes? :D
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby Iain » Fri May 02, 2008 11:20 pm

DavidH wrote:So that would make Jameson the oldest continuous working distillery in Ireland, yes? :D


Err... not sure - convince me.

But certainly Bushmills (not)!

Not the oldest in the world, not even the oldest in Ireland?

A bit dull, really...

:sleep:
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby DavidH » Sat May 03, 2008 12:33 am

Iain wrote:Err... not sure - convince me.

I'm not trying to convince anyone. IWC proposed the continuous operation of the producing entity, independent of the bricks and mortar, as the crucial element in establishing the record (oldest continuous distiller, not oldest distiller).

In which case I submit that Jameson has been a continuous producing entity since 1780.

I am playing devil's advocate here, not advancing an agenda of my own. No lives depend on the outcome :)
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby Aidan » Sat May 03, 2008 6:22 am

Actually... just to throw another spanner in the works. Jameson was made in the John's Lane Distillery (Powers) for a short period before the production moved to Midleton...
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby Aidan » Sat May 03, 2008 6:33 am

...although that doesn't disqualify jameson from being a continually producing entity.
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby DavidH » Sat May 03, 2008 1:24 pm

Does anybody know if IDL ever considered making Bushmills malt at Midleton? And if so, what stopped them from going ahead?
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby Iain » Sat May 03, 2008 1:27 pm

DavidH wrote:
Iain wrote:Err... not sure - convince me.

I'm not trying to convince anyone. IWC proposed the continuous operation of the producing entity, independent of the bricks and mortar, as the crucial element in establishing the record (oldest continuous distiller, not oldest distiller).

In which case I submit that Jameson has been a continuous producing entity since 1780.

I am playing devil's advocate here, not advancing an agenda of my own. No lives depend on the outcome :)


We seem to have two "oldest", according to the criteria used - the Kilbeggan distillery was reportedly working in 1757 as Brusna (I see that Barnard says it was founded 1750) but closed for a few decades, whereas Jameson, the company, has been making whisky since 1780 but not at Midleton originally (it was built in 1825?).

I'd give the decision re the "oldest distillery" to Kilbeggan, I reckon, as the distillery seems to have occupied the same site since it was first built. But I agree - there is plenty of room for devil's advocacy, and no lives will be lost if you disagree!
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Re: Bushmills 1608 (not!)

Postby DavidH » Sat May 03, 2008 2:07 pm

Iain wrote:We seem to have two "oldest", according to the criteria used - the Kilbeggan distillery was reportedly working in 1757 as Brusna (I see that Barnard says it was founded 1750) but closed for a few decades

I think we should withhold the title from Kilbeggan until they warm up the old stills. I realise they are not the original stills but they were apparently made by the same firm to the same template so they will do fine.

Those within Cooley seem to lean in two opposing directions regarding these stills. One camp wants to get them running again to reproduce an historic whiskey. The other wants to chop them up to make a cafe. :shock:

The prospect of the Oldest Distillery title might help them to choose correctly.
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