In Australia, we don’t hear much about poitin, the traditional un-aged spirit of Ireland, but we’re out to change that. Pronounced ‘pot-cheen’ and literally meaning ‘small pot’, poitin is considered the father of Irish whiskey, and it’s a spirit which is as heavily loaded with historical significance and as it is with flavour. Today in Ireland, there’s a resurgence of interest in this humble spirit, which, for centuries, was illegal to produce. Last year, 2022, was declared ‘the year of poitin’ by Killowen. A special tasting event, Poitin Now, dedicated solely to the enjoyment of this quintessentially Irish tipple happens in Dublin in November. We’re in catch-up mode, so if you’re a lover of Irish whiskey or you’re keen to try something new, this one’s for you.
Tasmania’s ties to Ireland are perhaps stronger than other Australian states and territory. A quarter of our population can claim Irish heritage. When the original Irish settlers and convicts arrived here in the early 1800s, their first footsteps were onto Hunter Island, in Hobart’s Sullivan’s Cove. They were the first of many Irish immigrants who brought with them an enduring culture that continues to be reworked and celebrated today.
Hunter Island Poitin has been made in the traditional way. Produced from a mixed grain recipe of oats, malted barley and raw barley, it has been fermented with ale yeast, and triple distilled in a copper pot still (a little 700 L one).
It’s sweet and spry and beautifully creamy. Baking spices coat the tongue and leave a long and lingering finish. Cut to 50% ABV, sip it neat, or enjoy in a cocktail.
Hunter Island Tasmanian Poitin 700ml$85.00 incl GST
How to Drink
Sipping it neat may be the best way to appreciate poitin, but we understand that’s not for everyone. Luckily, our poitin is a versatile spirit, and it works extremely well paired with beer, or even ginger beer.
The unique earthy sweetness of Hunter Island Poitin makes it a great base for most styles of cocktails. These bespoke Hunter Island Poitin cocktails were created for us by the talented staff from Hadley’s Orient Hotel in Hobart.