What is Poitin?
Poitin, which is also known as Poteen, is a poweful and legendary Irish distilled spirit that was, for years illegal in Ireland. The history of distillation in Ireland dates back over a thousand years and long before Irish Whiskey there was Poitin. Poitin is a basically a clear, non-aged white spirit which can be made from malted barley, grain, potatoes or whey and usually has an alcoholic strength of 60 to 90% Abv. Traditionally Poitin would have been made from a wash created from fresh water, potatoes, sugar and yeast. Then name derives from the Irish word “pota” meaning pot and is so named after the small pot stills it would have originally been distilled in. Poitin was outlawed in Ireland in 1661 and was production was driven underground but has been legal in the Republic of Ireland since 1989. It is still illegal in Northern Ireland. In 2008 Irish Poitin was accorded Geographical Indicative Status by the EU Council and Parliament.
The Teeling Whiskey Company have set out to make a modern, high quality Poitin in an effort to reinvigorate the original spirit of Ireland. Teeling Poitin is an un-aged Irish whiskey spirit bottled at 61.5% Abv.
In keeping with their innovative whiskies (Teeling Whiskey is finished in old rum casks and they make a Irish / Scottish Malt Hybrid Whiskey), Teeling Poitin is not made from potatoes but is a blend of 80% triple distilled grain (Maize) spirit and 20% double distilled malt spirit. The grain spirit, which is milder and mellower than the malt spirit, means the Teeling Poitin is quite palatable neat even though it is bottled at 61.5%. The grain spirit is distilled in traditional copper pot stills and the malt spirit is distilled in column stills.
Teeling Poitin Tasting Notes (from the Teeling Website)
Nose: Aromas of floss, malted barley, half-baked bread and raisined fruits.
Taste: To taste it is smooth sweet and fruity flavours of malt, raisined fruits, barley sugars and sugared almonds.
Finish: Warm and soothing on the finish.
Read more about my 2016 visit to the Teeling Whiskey Distillery.