A band of dedicated, passionate & committed folks coming together to promote & build Ireland’s own unique spirit category – Poitín.
There were a plethora of brands on display.
One off limited releases from Killowen, 2 Stacks & Blackwater to more mainstream offerings from Mad March Hare, Smuggling Nun & also Killowen too!
There’s a poitín for everyone!
So what pleased my palate?
Mad March Hare, 40%
As the crowds initially descended on the more esoteric brands I had free reign to be entertained by the core release from Intrepid Spirits – Mad March Hare.
Offering – to me at least – a classic 100% barley poitín drinking experience. Along with a spicy flourish on the finish Mad March Hare frolicked my senses – just like the live hares do in spring!
Smuggling Nun, 45%
It was a delight to encounter this fabulously branded Irish Poitín from an American based company.
Smuggling Nun is distilled in Ireland to an old mixed mash recipe from the Glens Of Antrim – named after an actual Nun who smuggled in the spirit as Holy Water for the parched prohibition era drinkers.
A sweet easy & oily mouthfeel developed a pleasing warmth with a slight tingling spice on the rear.
Blackwater a Dó, 48%
Moving up the price range produced a slightly more challenging drinking experience.
This wonderful cross border collaboration between Blackwater & Killowen started off with a soft nose, gorgeously oily palate with an appreciatively spicy bite on the rear!
I also partook of Blackwater’s own yet to be released DirtGrain Poitín, 43%
Clean & fresh with loads of tingling on the finish.
A different beast of a Poitín!
There were a couple of highly informative talks on poitín – which calmed my pace on the drinking – & informed me further on this burgeoning Irish spirit category – before it was back on the tastings!
One of the reasons in attending these kind of events is the opportunity to sample spirits either beyond my price range, limited releases, hard to find – or all 3.
Baoilleach Cratur, 60.4%
Now anything with a peat influence automatically appeals to my palate & this exploratory peated release Cratur delivered that it bucket loads!
Despite the high ABV – which accounts for my blurred photo – the earthy flavours came through delightfully on a richly oily palate.
Why drink whiskey when you can enjoy this fantastic tasting poitín?
Killowen Bulcán Dead & Buried, 67.9%
Killowen’s peated poitín also delighted my senses.
Gorgeous stuff – but beyond my price limit!
Killowen Pangur, 47%
A hopefully more affordable & bit more accessible core release trio by the name of Pangur caught me eye.
Very attractively labelled with a ‘white cat’ – translation of pangur – the range includes a couple of rested in wood poitins & the unrested one I sampled.
A delightful & easily accessible introduction into the poitín category that doesn’t skimp on the fabulous flavours within.
Poitín does need an affordable brand to appeal to & engage with a wider audience for it to grow. I certainly welcome Killowen’s foray to attain this.
2 Stacks Past & Future
I rounded off the event with an extremely limited release poitín produced specially for Poitín Now.
Past & Future is another peated expression that pleased my palate!
Thus ended my outing to the inaugural Poitín Now event in the very accommodating Bar 1661 in Dublin.
Here’s hoping the enthusiasm of the organisers, exhibitors & attendees translates into a world class spirit category.
The quality, diversity & enjoyability of the spirits on show certainly deserve it!
I thought a ‘warm up’ tasting of this posse of poitín before the inaugural Dublin based event would ease me in.
I knew nothing about Hackler before purchasing this sample from Tiny Tipple. Turns out it was a late 1990’s launch by Diageo – distilled by Cooley – to build the Poitín market. On failing to meet ‘targets’ it was unceremonially dropped.
A rather shy nose, sweet & sour. Easy on the palate. A sweet warming spice on the finish.
A very pleasant easily quaffable poitín – if a tad too artificially sweet for my liking. Smacks as a bit of a crowd pleaser – not sure why it didn’t catch on?
Straw Boys, 46%
Connacht Distillery’s venture into Poitín is presented in a very attractive bottle.
Richly pungent, offering that sour new make nose I associate with poitín. Gently oily palate. Noticeable bite on the finish, leaves with a strong tingling sensation.
A classic poitín drinking experience.
The Big Field, 46%
Distilled using barley grown on Tipperary Distillery’s own ‘big field’ using a 50/50 mix of malted/unmalted barley it’s taken me a little while to sample this one.
A softly muted nose. Wonderfully oily palate. The finish bites with a healthy dose of spiciness.
An extremely varied tasting experience from this trio!
Can’t help thinking Hackler is a toned down poitín to appeal to the masses. Certainly makes for a very easy drinker. Pity it never caught on. Perhaps Diageo were ahead of the curve?
Both Straw Boys & Big Field are a bit more challenging yet offer- to me at least – a grounded authenticity.
With the former you have malted barley alone – while the later has that malted/unmalted mix giving added spice & an enhanced appeal.
It’s hard to pick one out from this diverse & very well delivered variety of poitín styles – but for me Straw Boys does it!
Continuing my miniature series are a pair of releases from across the pond with links to Ireland.
Great Wagon Road Distilling in North Carolina play homage to their Irish roots with Quinn’s Barrel Rested Poitin while Canadian company Seagram’s at one time used to own Bushmills Distillery.
So how did I find them?
Quinn’s Barrel Rested Poitin, 45%
Golden brown in colour, slightly darker than Seagram’s. A pleasant sweet fruity nose, suggestive of sherry influence. Smooth, oily mouthfeel with good depth of flavour. Luscious mouth watering finish, reminiscent of fruit pastilles.
A tad sweet for my palate – but a very entertaining tipple!
Turns out this poitin is made with organic barley & wheat – which perhaps gives the sweetness? – & is rested in new oak barrels.
Really enjoyed this one!
Seagram’s VO, 40%
Pale straw. Grainy sweet caramel. Quite light. Mild & mellow palate. Hints of tingling spice on the finish.
An easy drinker livening up on the rear.
Seagram’s are now part of the Sazerac group who only recently announced their purchase of the Lough Gill Distillery in County Sligo.
A classic Canadian blend.
For my palate Quinn’s provided a richer & more entertaining tipple.
Which one would you choose?
My samples were purchased from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder here.