Fodor's Expert Review Bushmills
Reputedly the oldest licensed distillery in the world, Bushmills was first granted a charter by King James I in 1608, though historical records refer to a distillery here as early as 1276. Bushmills produces the most famous of Irish whiskeys—its namesake—and a rarer black-label version, Black Bush, widely regarded as the best of the best. On the guided tour, discover the secrets of the special water from St. Columb's Rill, the story behind malted Irish barley, and learn about triple distillation in copper stills and aging (which happens for long years in oak casks). You begin in the mashing and fermentation room, proceed to the maturing and bottling warehouse, and conclude, yes, with the much anticipated, complimentary shot of uisce beatha, the "water of life." Try to join a less-crowded early morning tour. You can also have a light lunch in the Distillery Kitchen Restaurant or buy souvenirs in the distillery gift shop.