Killowen Distillery, which is owed and operated by Brendan Carty (pictured above), is Ireland’s smallest whiskey distillery, which is set in the heart of the Mourne Mountains, in County Down.
Brendan hand selected two handmade copper pot stills named Christoir, which boasts 1,000 litre capacity, and a second still which he has named Broc, which has a 800 litre capacity.
These stills are the only direct flame fired pot stills in the country. This gives the distillery a great sense of nostalgia as poitín and whiskey are once again being made in the old fashioned way in the Mourne Mountains, albeit legally this time.
Continuing on this homage to historic distilling practices, the distillery has implemented worm tub condensers, which feature coiling copper tubes submerged in freezing cold water for the process of condensing the alcohol vapor into liquid.
Brendan notes that “We believe the ancient still shape, size, flame heat and worm tub condensation help create a traditional spirit with a contemporary twist. It is our understanding that Killowen are the only Distillery to focus on purely worm tub condensers in Ireland.”
The distillery today has announced that their first products have hit the market, with a gin and poitín (essentially unaged whiskey) now available from the online store, Irishmalts.
Killowen have chosen to embrace the local history of their area by utilising mash bills (grain recipes) for their Poitín which have been used by a local family in the Mourne Mountains for generations. They have carefully selected a unique ratio of wheat, barley and oats to create an intriguing tipple. It is bottled at 48% ABV and bottled in a minimalistic 500ml bottle.
The gin is one that celebrates the highland and maritime botanicals that are hand picked from the distillery’s locality. It is also bottled at 43% ABV and styled in a similarly minimalistic 500ml bottle.
According to Brendan “The flavor 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.”
As mentioned before, these bottles are now available from online retailer IrishMalts, whom export to 31 countries across the globe, including Ireland, the UK and the United States.
Killowen is currently producing three styles of liquid, gin, poitín as well as whiskey, which they are laying down for the years to come.