Poitin (puh-cheen) is Ireland’s answer to moonshine, a pot-distilled spirit which can be made from a variety of base starches (much like vodka).
A recent event rounded up three Irish poitin bottlings to help elucidate how different various expressions of this spirit can be. We aren’t re-reviewing the barley-based Mad March Hare here, so please see that earlier review for more context.
Let’s get our poitin on!
Both are 88 proof.
Ban Poitin – Made from potatoes, barley, and sugar beets. Pungent and earthy, with a brooding aroma of turned soil and a hint of overripe fruit. The palate puts the throttle down on all fronts, its warming palate turning intensely savory, with elements of roast beef on burnt rye toast. A muddy, mushroomy, almost vegetal character endures on the finish, but it’s all nonetheless surprisingly drinkable, provided you aren’t looking for the sugary rush you often find in an American moonshine. B / $41 [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]
Micil Poitin – Made from malted barley and a local botanical called bogbean. A much spicier and more herbal poitin, with a sharp nose that speaks much more heavily of overripe citrus and banana, with more of a clear ethanol character. The palate is rough and rustic, less engaging and more booze-centric than the Ban bottling, with a much more intense, vegetal funk. Chewy and rustic, Micil hits the palate much more like a brash white whiskey than Ban’s more subdued expression. C / $49 (500ml) [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]