Global reach for new craft gin and poitin from the Mournes

KILLOWEN DISTILLERY RI Farm
RIGHT: Brendan Carty at his Killowen Distillery in the Mournes, overlooking Rostrevor.

By Sam Butler

KILLOWEN Distillery, located near Rostrevor in the Mourne Mountains, has just released its first small batch gin and poitin.

The latest craft spirits from Northern Ireland are available to order directly online across 31 countries, including the US. A massive outreach for what looks like Ireland’s smallest distillery.

Killowen founder and master distiller Brendan Carty says: “Focusing on centuries of gin making in Ireland, we at Killowen Distillery place seasonal botanicals to the fore, many of which are handpicked from the immediate locality.

“The result is an unusual gin celebrating its maritime and highland environment within the Mourne Mountains. Killowen’s small batch fuses native botanicals with more recognisable gin botanicals to create a unique well-balanced flavour.

“The flavour is fine light, fresh and crisp especially when added to a little tonic and a sprig of mint. It smells like hillside of wild flowers containing as it does fuchsia flower, rose hip, elderberry, Angelica and meadow sweet,” he adds.

Killowen’s unique distillation methods include flame fed stills, worm tub condensation and unique pot stills moulded on Irish whiskey stills of old. The Mash Bills (whiskey recipes) are reflective of Irish whiskey from a time when Irish whiskey was the drink of choice throughout the world. The distillery is the first in Ireland to distil over flame.

“Killowen’s poitin encapsulates these historical disciplines of our native spirit to create a truly superior spirit fitting of the word poitin. It hits the nose with the scent of grass and pine cones. The tongue can taste the oatmeal and vanilla. The spices can be felt in the swallow. At 48 per cent proof the novice may want to dilute,” he adds.

Killowen distillery was established in 2015 by Mr Carty, who designed and supervised the whole process.

“We laid down its first whiskey casks several months ago and the quality poitin will be a precursor of things to come,” he says.

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