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Issue 17 - Bushmills, boiled socks and baloney

Whisky Magazine Issue 17
July 2001


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Bushmills, boiled socks and baloney

Brigid James rounds up the latest news and opinions from the definitive whisky website,

The storm caused by the Bushmills article, regarding alleged claims about the distillery being the oldest in the world, continues to rage.

The general feeling amongst the majority of visitors to the site's forum is that Bushmills' marketing offensive shows a clear disregard for the authentic heritage of distilleries and patronises the consumer.

Forum participant Iain comes up with an excellent ‘Bushmills myth' of his own, concerning the fermentation of yaks' milk and boiled socks in 34BC, which prompted bemused contributor Erik Huurman to ask if he's checked his facts! Several of you felt that we shouldn't get too bogged down in these facts, including CheekyMonkey, who stirred things up considerably with the ironic comment: “Let the marketing monkeys get on with the marketing rubbish that no one listens to anyway.” Any “marketing monkeys” out there who wish to defend their honourable profession? Come and join the forum.

Currently, the consensus of opinion seems to be that Bushmills simply falls into a geographical area where a general license had been granted. The distillery did not receive its own license until later, making it the oldest distillery in Ireland – not in the world. Iain claims that it is incorrect to suggest that distillery foundation dates are lost in the mists of time because distilleries have always been subject to excise duties, regulations and taxes – therefore they feature in government records. He cites that A Short History of the Art...

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