Category Archives: Poitin

Quinn’s Barrel Rested Poitin, 45% & Seagram’s VO, 40%

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?

Image courtesy Drams Delivered

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!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

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.

Preferences

For my palate Quinn’s provided a richer & more entertaining tipple.

Which one would you choose?

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My samples were purchased from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder here.

Great Wagon Road Distillery website here.

Seagram’s VO webpage here.

Sazerac invest in County Sligo here.

Ballykeefe Irish Poitín, 40%

Ballykeefe Distillery in County Kilkenny promote themselves as a grain to glass operation.

The barley for this poitín – same as their out-of-my-reach whiskey – is grown on the farm.

They’re into ‘traditionality, environmentalism’ & ‘family values’.

Quite how that translates into flavour will have to wait for my first sip!

The nose is quite soft & new makey. Nothing unusual for a barley based poitín.

Very smooth on the palate. No harshness here!

On the finish I’m embraced by a warming hug of heat!

Delightfully engaging & a very friendly introduction to the poitín category.

Picked this one up at a local SuperValu in the metropolis of Moate.

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All images authors own.

Mourne DEW Miniature Pack, 40% to 43%.

When a particular distillery’s output wins 2 blind tasting sessions – you take notice.

Both Mourne DEW’s Blend and Single Malt stood out for me,

Tasty trio c/othewhiskeynut

So I purchased their miniature set to try them out side by side.

The Kilbroney Gin went down well with my better half,

Kilbroney c/othewhiskeynut

Allowing me to concentrate on the others!

Pooka Poitín, 43%

Pooka c/othewhiskeynut

The colour immediately intrigued me. A pale straw hue – similar to the whiskeys – obviously a bit of barrel ageing going on – 10 weeks is allowed.

An entertaining floral note greeted me – with a hint of woody smoke. Oily smooth mouthfeel with enticing flavours. A touch of nuttiness on the finish topped off with a pleasing drying prickleness.

A rather unique poitín offering – very happy with this one!

Mourne DEW Blend, 40%

Blend c/othewhiskeynut

Like encountering an old friend!

A clean & fresh nose, smooth honeyed palate drying out towards the finish leaving with a tingling spiciness.

A characterful little number!

Mourne DEW Single Malt, 43%

Single Malt c/othewhiskeyut

Just a word on the colour – of the 3 – it appears the palest!

Clearly no caramel here & a relatively young malt – which works well for a peater – as the nose brings me back to sitting by an open turf fire!

What can I say about this one?

A delightfully young & vibrant peater – loved it!

Thoughts

For a small distillery nestled on the pretty banks of Carlingford Lough in Warrenpoint – Mourne DEW are releasing a flavourful range of spirits to charm & entertain.

Happy drinking! c/othewhiskeynut

The Essence Of Mourne – works wonders for me!

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Mulroy Bay, Irish Poitín, 47%

Distilled in a renovated cottage using direct fired copper pot stills is Baoilleach Distillery‘s Mulroy Bay Poitín.

Poitín in a Tuath glass c/othewhiskeynut

The hills of Donegal have long been associated with Poitín making & this bijou distillery is – legally – bringing that tradition alive.

Baoilleach Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

When COVID restrictions allowed I made a trip up to Donegal & bagged myself some of this fine spirit.

Using a mixed mash bill of malted barley & potatoes, Mulroy Bay Poitín has unique characteristics – as well as a potent strength of 47%.

Poitín 1 c/othewhiskeynut

There’s an earthy new make kind of nose. A bit of depth, a hint of umami & an added dash of sweetness.

Very smooth & oily on the palate – to begin with – as a prickly heat slowly builds & dries out the mouth,

The finish ebbs away with a gently fading tingling sensation.

Poitín 2 c/othewhiskeynut

‘Hand Crafted In Small Batches’ implies there could be slight variations between each mash – but I’d be very happy to sample every one as it came off the still!

The taste of Donegal.

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Killowen Poitín, 48%

What could be more fresh & pure than a double distilled direct flame fired Irish Poitín?

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Killowen Poitin c/othewhiskeynut

Especially one made at the boutique Killowen Distillery set in the foothills of the mighty Mourne Mountains, Co. Down.

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The Distiller, the turf & the smokehouse. c/othewhiskeynut

Using a mixed mash bill of malted & unmalted barley, oats and wheat – as well as some local turf dried grains in a home made smokehouse – Killowen Poitín is a joy on the palate.

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Back for more? c/othewhiskeynut

Aromas of gentle turf smoke mingle with the new make spirit.

It’s creamy, luscious & wholesome in the mouth.

Slowly drying out as the turf makes it’s presence felt in a gorgeous warm glow on the long finish.

My kinda poitín!

Sláinte

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Micil Irish Poitín, Heritage Edition, 46%

Every now and then there’s a release that just blows away the old myths.

One of the hackneyed stereotypical tropes used is that Irish Whiskey isn’t peated – or as I’m in Ireland – turfed.

Any cursory study of past recipes clearly shows it was – as the collective who collaborated to produce this Heritage Poitín found – and thankfully it now is.

Micil Instagram
Micil distillery Instagram Post

Micil Heritage Poitín is the first spirit to use Irish turf to smoke Irish Barley  & Irish Oats in a long time.

This is a game changer.

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Drinking Poitín at the Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

The other myth is that to be a good whiskey it must be aged – preferably for a long time.

Well – after tasting this fabulous poitín – age is only a number.

This is the original uisce beatha – the water of life – that started the whole whiskey craze.

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Micil’s back label c/othewhiskeynut

It’s pure, it’s clear and it’s a delight to drink.

The final myth is that barley is the be all and end all of whiskey.

Again – no relevance to the actual recipes of the past that traditionally used a mixed mash bill of barley – both malted & unmalted – wheat, rye and oats.

The oats in Micil Heritage Poitín give it a gorgeous creaminess with a depth of body & generous legs.

The turf smoke is like the warm hug of a winters fire sharing the craic with friends & family.

Micil Heritage Poitín is stepping back in time to go forward.

I raise a glass to all involved.

To the return of Irish turf!

Sláinte

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Bunratty Irish Poteen, 40%

I was going to do a one word blog;

Corny

But that wouldn’t do this poitin justice.

It’s corny in 2 ways.

Firstly from the rather ‘bigging up the blarney’ touristy offering,

And then the softly sweet new make smell of it’s main ingredient – I’d suggest anyway – corn.

It’s not a flavour profile I’m particularly fond of.

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Bunratty miniature c/othewhiskeynut

But Bunratty Poteen was one of the 1st commercial poitins – the more usual spelling – out on the market post the 1997 legalisation.

And for that it’s worthy of praise. For opening up the category to other entrants – which suit my palate better.

So I doff my cap to Bunratty Poteen for being a trend setter.

Even if I find it corny!

Sláinte

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Fitzpatrick’s Homemade Ketchup, 1.5%

The choice of which dressing to adorn your meal with to spice it up a little wouldn’t normally feature in a whiskey blog.

But then this is no ordinary ketchup.

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Fitzpatrick’s Ketchup c/othewhiskeynut

Fitzpatrick’s Homemade Ketchup is the first – at least to my knowledge – to be infused with ‘just a splash of Irish Poitín’ in it’s ingredients.

I just had to try it out!

It’s available locally near it’s Cavan based homeland – and at Fallon & Byrne in Dublin – where I picked up a bottle before attending the wonderful Whiskey Live Dublin 2018 show.

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100% natural c/othewhiskeynut

I added a generous serving to my fish ‘n’ chips recently – well – it was a Friday – and it certainly made a welcome step up from my normal everyday condiment.

It’s more of a relish than a red sauce.

There are small chunks of tomatoes, onions & sultanas in the mix – which adds texture –  together with a gentle sweetness – and a spicy tanginess – giving a welcome zest & flavour to my meal.

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Just a slash c/othewhiskeynut

Quite what the ‘splash of Irish Poitín’ added to the well balanced mix I’m not sure – but there was a wholesome earthiness to the experience – and at only 1.5% content – it’s hardly going to intoxicate you.

A lovely tasty addition to the condiment canon!

I’ve certainly enjoyed splashing it all over my meals in recent weeks!

Sláinte

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Dolmen Irish Poitín, 40%

The attractively simple & clean design of this Aldi supermarket release matches the clear & fresh taste of the poitín inside.

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Dolmen Irish Poitín c/othewhiskeynut

Dolmens – or portal tombs – are found throughout Ireland. They date from 2,000 to 3,000 years BC and provide an insight into former civilisations that existed in Ireland.

Poitín is also a product of earlier times.

Times when there were no rules or regulations governing alcohol manufacture or consumption and poitín making was a locally based farm activity.

Today it is a growing category in the re-emerging Irish Whiskey scene.

It can be made from any grain – in either pot or column stills – and usually has not been aged in wood for added colour or flavour.

Dolmen Irish Poitín is quite a distinctive style of poitín.

Rather than displaying the somewhat oily & slightly sour taste experience I expect within this genre of spirit – Dolmen portrays a clean & refreshingly sweet bouquet to the nose.

This follows through into the taste which starts off rather soft & mild – easily approachable even – before a slowly warming reassuring heat makes it’s presence felt.

A pleasantly appealing &  palatable poitín.

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Poitín poetry c/othewhiskeynut

There’s a suitable storyline on the back label which combines history, myth, folklore and fancy and – unusually for a supermarket release – the distillery of origin.

Blackwater Distillery.

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Waterford Poitín c/othewhiskeynut

I look forward to future releases from this distillery.

The 21st whiskey distillery in Ireland to recently open for business.

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Buffalo Trace, White Dog, Rye Mash, 62.5%

For International Poitin Day I’ve decided to go – well – International!

Now Poitin is an Irish term.

It denotes a raw, unaged distillate made using unspecified grains & conjures up all sorts of folklore and fancy tales.

Across the water in America it goes by a different name – Moonshine – or in this instance – White Dog.

There are similarities in style, manufacture and fairytale – as well as music.

What drew me to this example however was the Rye Mash label.

I do like a drop of hot spice!

At 62.5% – or 125 proof – this White Dog doesn’t disappoint.

The clean clear colourless liquid has an oily, softly sweet yet sour corn nose with a hint of peppery spice.

It’s surprisingly gentle – even smooth to begin with. The corn & barley mash pulls you in before a growing dry peppery spice takes over with a big hit of alcohol.

The dryness lasts through to the finish which is complemented by yet more spice & prickly heat from the high strength.

The rye, corn & barley mash brings a degree of complexity to this essentially simple style of distillate.

I find it fascinating tasting raw spirit like this before the maturation in wood adds more colour, flavour & depth to the mix.

It’s how our forebearers would have enjoyed their whiskey.

Enjoy your International Poitin Day!

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