Tag Archives: Killowen

Poitín Now, Bar 1661, Dublin

Where do I begin with Poitín Now?

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.

Very drinkable!

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!


Header image courtesy Poitín Now

Bar 1661 website here.

All other images authors own.


Jose Cuervo, Especial Reposado, 38%

As tequila finishing is now a ‘thing’ in Irish Whiskey – see JJ Corry The Battalion & Killowen Experimental Series Tequila Cask – along with the fact tequila distillers Jose Cuervo own Bushmills – I thought an exploration of the category would be fun.

Tequila is a highly regulated spirit.

The governing body – Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) operate strict guidelines as to what is – or is not – allowed under the Official Standards of Tequila – or NOM – which are available at crt.org.mx

Jose Cuervo is the biggest selling Tequila brand in the world – stats from 2019 here.

The brands bottles are readily available in Ireland & I picked up their Especial Reposado for appraisal.

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Tequila sunshine! c/othewhiskeynut

All tequila has to be made with the blue agave plant in Mexico.

If it doesn’t state ‘100% agave’ – like this especial – it must contain a minimum of 51% agave. The remainder can be made up of permitted additives; caramel colouring, natural oak extract, glycerin & sugar syrup for example.

This obviously effects the tasting experience.

So how did I find Jose Cuervo Especial Reposado?

Well – initially that distinctive pungenty earthy agave aroma greeted me – but it was overlaid by a sweet & slightly sickly caramel I dislike in many a whiskey.

The palate was very smooth & easy – just lacking a rich powerful earthiness – which is what I’m after in a tequila.

Only on the finish did those lovely agave notes resurface as it gently dried out leaving a peppery spice.

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Mit farbstoff c/othewhiskeynut

This is mass market stuff.

Simple, sweet, easy & smooth.

And it sells well.

It’s the equivalent of many a blended whiskey & exhibits the same sweet caramelly notes that – on my palate at least – hide the purity of the agave – or subtleties of the barley – depending on your drink of choice.

Just like whiskey – to get the better stuff you usually have to pay more.

But those tequilas are harder to find in Ireland.


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