Review: Glendalough Poitin

glendalough poitin

Poitin (po-cheen) pushers are trying their darnedest to bring this ancient Irish spirit back to the masses. A distillation of malt barley and sugar beets, the finished product is aged in virgin oak (but generally filtered back to white). Ireland’s Glendalough sent us a trilogy of poitins for us to sample. Our thoughts follow.

Glendalough Poitin – The curious marshmallow notes on the nose are no preparation for what comes next on the body — rubber at play with gasoline notes that immediately recalls both American moonshine and Brazilian cachaca. Unfortunately, there’s no fruit, no real interest on the palate to make this investment worthwhile, just a cacophony of raw flavors straight off the still that never quite makes it. All poitin tends to be something of an acquired taste, but this expression may require more acquiring than others. 80 proof. D+/ $31

Glendalough Mountain Strength – I guess they like it strong up there in the mountains. The extra alcohol of this high-proof expression actually helps to soften things up a bit, but the palate is still possessed by a moonshiny monster. A longer finish is simultaneously both a good and a bad thing, bringing out some hints of tart berry fruit, but also pumping up the petrol character. 120 proof. C- / $37

Glendalough Sherry Cask Finish – This is the only non-clear expression of Glendalough, which undergoes a secondary finishing in sherry casks. The citrusy wood influence sure doesn’t hurt, tempering that rubbery character a bit with some orange peel and incense, particularly on the nose. The finish doesn’t go nearly far enough, however. While there’s a little savory lumberyard character in the mix, that raw, almost saccharine character still manages to shine through. 80 proof. C- / $37

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3 Responses

  1. smck August 2, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    Crap. What a load of pretentious bollocks. It’s a smooth and nicely finished drop. Perhaps a tad over priced but on a par with many a traditional whiskey and even if it is an acquired taste, it is certainly not hard to acquire. Even my wife who sport a very discerning palate for whiskies was an instant convert.

  2. P. Love August 9, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    Just tasted it – the local distributors brought it to the wine/liquor store where I work. I disagree wholeheartedly with the review. I found the nose mysterious/inviting, and the flavors complex with plenty fruit. Verged on botanical in a really good way.

  3. Deco September 23, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    The person who made this review just doesn’t like poitin. It has its own profile I think it’s really nice.
    Get someone who enjoys it.

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