Tasting #11: The Poitín Revolution

The distillates tasting series is a chance for you to hang out with some of the world’s most creative distillers on zoom, try new hooch, and talk shop. Come Join Shane (the Distillates), Bendan (Killowen), Michael (Baoilleach) and hopefully Jack for some good ribbing and serious exploration on the future of whisky and poitín.

Poitín (pronounced poa-cheen) is at the heart of whisky as we know it today. You probably know it as “moonshine” or “mountain dew”. The first license for professional production was signed in Ireland in 1556. It is traditionally distilled in a small pot still and as per the modern technical file can only come from cereals, grain, whey, sugar beet, molasses and potatoes (so basically anything), and be aged no more than 10 weeks in wood. The whole clandestine vibe came from a not so minor disagreement around taxation with the British crown. You Americans might relate. We are talking back-country down home hooch.

You are probably thinking, that is the stuff that will make me blind and hurts to drink. You couldn’t be more wrong. I was so impressed with the spirits I tried I now personally own a number of casks. There is a renaissance happening, and what is coming out of a handful of micro distilleries in Ireland is amazing. There are all kinds of poitin, but the ones in this kit are full metal delicious. I didn’t go for delicate, I wanted to show you how flavorful the spirit can be at its core. 


Price: 50 GBP + ship from Ireland to your home (typically 10 – 40GBP depending on country).

Set: 8 samples @ 50ml each

Timing: tasting December(ish), to be scheduled as soon as it sells out and we coordinate.

Signup: Ping me on Facebook Messenger (or if you don’t have facebook, then email me at firstname dot lastname at gmail). At the time of posting (18:24 October 25) we had 10 sets left.

Baoilleach (Donegal, Ireland)

I was hanging out at Belfast whisky week in 2021 and a chipper lad named Michael pulled out a couple water bottles from his backpack and asked if I wanted to try his new spirit. What I tried was one of the most complex, profound and down right gnarly pours. Garden patch meets bbq tractor hose beast. He uses peat from his own land and is obsessed with smoke. Besides two very different Poitin, I convinced him to add a sip of his rum because I’m obsessed with this experiment. He dug his own dunder pits and did a long slow fermentation. Every convo I have with Michael is about the next weird adventure. 

  • Unaged Poitin – Single Malt Heavily Peated 
  • Potstill Aged Poitin Marsala
  • Rum – like you have never tasted before (stated with confidence)

Killowen (North Ireland)

Brendan is on a mission to prove that whisky does not have to be old enough to vote in order to be downright delicious. You might not know of them, but Killowen is a bit of a darling in the Irish whisky community. It might be because they aren’t afraid to take on some of the big guys and push for what is right. Or maybe just his taste in sweaters. But without a doubt, it is because every bottle I open is freaking solid. And the latest juice off the still is just getting better and better.

  • Pangur. A new lightly peated poitín getting released in November. 
  • Top secret. A poitin collab between blackwater and killowen for Poitin Now. 
  • Bulcán – A super peated oily oaty bang to the cranium.

Jack Maccabe / White Mountain Jack’s (Opportunist) 

Jack is a spirit hacker. Small casks, fun experiments, very patient wife. He mentioned he has some medium peated poitin @ 61.2% ABV he was planning to finish in a tiny px cask. So I bought 1.5L pre-finish and 1.5L after so we could compare side by side and give him some feedback.