Whisky Magazine Issue 102
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We head to Antrim to visit Bushmills Distillery to talk distilling and crafting whiskey in small batches
There are times when getting to the distillery can be just as much fun as looking round, and Bushmills is no exception, especially if you are on a motorbike.
Leaving Belfast and heading up the coast the scenery is mainly arable land, leaving your mind to focus on the road. The roads round here are die straight in places, and if you know your racing lore you are in the presence of some of the most famous racing ghosts.
This is some of the best riding roads in the United Kingdom, and the route from Belfast to Bushmills takes you through Ballymoney where you can pay your respects to two of the most decorated road racers: Joey Dunlop and his brother Robert, hugely respected in the riding fraternity. This corner of the island breeds these brave men. Hardened by years of road racing. The Isle of Man TT may be famous, but the series of races here in Northern Ireland is second to none. The most well known of these is the NW200 at Port Rush.
It is worth turning to that great Victorian whisky writer and traveller Alfred Barnard before you visit the modern day distillery.
This distillery has a long and eventful history, stretching back to 1608 when Sir Thomas Phillipps was granted a royal licence to produce whiskey. The distillery has survived fire, smuggling, and the loss of the American market to prohibition in the 1920s, and continues to thrive.
A licence to distil was granted in 1608, but more formal records took a little longer to emerge; as Barnard notes: “The first record ...