GSN Review: Glendalough Poitín

Glendalough-Poitín-365x320Every drinker certainly knows about Irish whiskey, but very few are aware of Ireland’s oldest spirit.  Known as Poitín (pot-cheen) it dates back to the late 6th century.  It was the emerald isle’s national spirits until it was outlawed in 1661 by Charles II.  In fact it wasn’t until 1997 that it was legalized.

The Glendalough distillery was founded by a quintet of Irish lads to reintroduce this almost forgotten spirit to the world.

Premium Poitin (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Deeply malty with a crisp and peppery high note.
Taste: Slightly sweet with a funky bitter edge.  Think of a vodka that’s been distilled just a few times.  Viscous mouthfeel has an enveloping character.
Finish: As it fades, delicate notes of fresh pear appear.
Overall: Rough in an appealing way, this shares much of the style of american “white dog”.
GSN Rating: B

Sherry Cask Finish Poitin (80 proof)
Visual: Golden yellow.
Nose: Sweet malt tempered by a vivacious sherry overcoat.  Quite enticing.
Taste: Delicate and elegant notes of sherry perfectly balanced with a heftier malt base.
Finish: More pepper and ginger spice develop as it fades.  A fair amount of tannins on the back of the palate leave a warming baking spice heat.
Overall: Quite unique and unusual.  The sherry works beautifully here.
GSN Rating: A-

Mountain Strength Poitin (120 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Intensely fresh and bracing nose.  Loads of pepper spice and just the slightest note of wintergreen.
Taste: A lot of heat (no surprise there), but controlled by a powerhouse of well distilled malt flavor.  Almost chewy and in the mould of sourdough bread.  Very approachable and to the point.
Finish: Quite long with a goodly dose of heat retention and sprightly peppercorn.
Overall: Probably the closest you would come to the original style of Poitin made in the hills of Ireland circa 750 A.D.  If you want to shake off a winter chill, an ounce of this will do you fine.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Glendalough Distillery

GSN: Backbar Review – April 1-5, 2013

imagesDiageo will extend its Captain Morgan rum brand with a limited edition Sherry Cask Finish next month. Captain Morgan Sherry Cask Finish ties in with the company’s efforts to illuminate the exploits of the real-life Captain Henry Morgan, including, most recently, its Sundance Channel documentary on Morgan’s 17th-century flagship, the Satisfaction. The limited-release entry is intended to celebrate the discovery of the cannons from the Satisfaction on an archaeological expedition to Panama led by Diageo, says Tom Herbst, vice president, marketing, rums. “(The Sherry Cask extension) will be a unique flavor profile,” Herbst adds. “It will have a richer, fuller flavor and mouthfeel resulting from being finished in Sherry casks, which are the type Captain Morgan would have had on his boat.” No word yet on the new offering’s retail price-positioning, but it will likely be at a premium to the core brand. The Sherry Cask variant also continues Captain Morgan’s outreach beyond the rum category, with a style that should appeal to whiskey drinkers. The brand pursued a similar gambit with its launch of Captain Morgan Black (94.6 proof, $22 a bottle) last summer, which Diageo says was designed to draw in drinkers of brown spirits across multiple categories.

imagesBrown-Forman is launching a new program to sell personalized barrels of Old Forester Bourbon for $7,500 each, according to local news reports. The process involves master distiller Chris Morris choosing three barrels from over 200 (a day’s production volume) in Old Forester’s 4- to 6-year-old inventory, and then walking customers through a tasting of the three barrels from which they may choose. A barrel holds about 220 bottles, making the price per bottle about $34. Brown-Forman also does a similar barrel program for Jack Daniel’s.

imagesBeam Inc.’s Pinnacle vodka has added Rainbow Sherbet to its fast-rising line of dessert-flavored entries. Pinnacle’s newest flavor combines the tastes of orange, lime and raspberry. Rainbow Sherbet is the first of several new Pinnacle flavor innovations planned for 2013, including Strawberry Shortcake, which is coming soon.

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imagesHeaven Hill Distilleries is introducing new products to two of the U.S. spirits market’s hottest segments—flavored whisk(e)y and vodka’s $12-$18 price tier. This spring, Heaven Hill is rolling out High Rise Vodka and Cinerator Hot Cinnamon flavored whiskey. High Rise is a domestically-produced vodka, distilled five times from winter white wheat. It will initially be launched in 11 markets around the U.S. Priced at around $15 a 750-ml., High Rise features a core offering as well as Cherry and Citrus extensions.

imagesBeam Inc. has unveiled Jim Beam Distiller’s Masterpiece, a limited edition extra-aged Kentucky Bourbon. Created to coincide with the start of Kentucky’s horse racing season, Distiller’s Masterpiece is finished in Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks and packaged in a wooden case. The 100-proof offering will be available solely at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky, priced at $200 a bottle. Distiller’s Masterpiece debuts as Jim Beam’s most upscale offering to date, joining the brand’s Original, Honey, Red Stag, Black, Devil’s Cut and Jacob’s Ghost expressions.

imagesBeam Inc. has launched its 2 Gingers Irish whiskey brand in the Chicago market. Previously available in other Illinois regions, the twice-distilled whiskey is also sold in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, priced at around $19.99 a 750-ml. Established by Minnesota-based entrepreneur Kieran Folliard in January 2012, 2 Gingers was acquired by Beam in December for an undisclosed sum. The brand, which is produced at Beam’s Kilbeggan Distilling Co. in Ireland, has quickly risen to become the fifth-largest Irish whiskey brand in the U.S., with sales of around 20,000 cases across 2,100 accounts last year.

imagesPernod Ricard has introduced its limited edition Absolut Mexico bottle in the U.S. market. The special edition, which contains unflavored Absolut vodka and retails at $19.99 a 750-ml., has been available in Mexico since last year. The Absolut Mexico package was designed by contemporary Mexican artist and tattoist Jeronimo Lopez Ramirez, also known as Dr. Lakra. According to Pernod, the design “combines three legendary icons from ancient Mayan culture—Hurakan (Hurricane), Kukulkan (Serpent) and Balam (Jaguar)—and brings them to life on the Absolut bottle through a modern artistic lens that represents Mexico today.”

All information courtesy of Shaken News Daily.