4th February 2013

Product reviews

Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen® Gold-Extra Strength 90% vol. now produced as Knockeen Hills Poteen™ Gold-Extra Strength 90% vol. 


review by Jim Murray

Jim Murray is an English writer journalist, and a well known whisky critic. He is best known for his observations on whisky his Wiki page can be found here


Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen Gold Extra-Strength 90% vol. Irish Poitin.

Taste: warming with spice, very fruity, notes of vanilla


This poteen is not for beginners, but those who dare to taste it will get a unique taste experience. Diluted with lots of water and ice cold you get a great summer long drink. This poteen is the only one in Ireland that can officially be sold at 90%. It is distilled three times, giving it a very smooth taste.


It contains all the characteristics of an “old-fashioned” Poteen. Like the other Poteens from Knockeen Hills, this one is very soft and is very suitable as a base for cocktails.


Rating by Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2013: ‘not rated’.


Capacity: 0.5 Litre.


Country of origin: Ireland


Dye: no


Manufacturer: Knockeen Hills Spirits Ltd., Templeton, Tiverton, EX16 8BP

United Kingdom.


Aroma: fruity notes of lemon and summer fruits, some sweetness


Taste: warming with spice, very fruity, notes of vanilla


Finish: long, warm finish

Reveiw can be found on this Link


The 7 Best Poitín to try in 2023

Irish Poitín is an ancient spirit with a long history. After being declared illegal for more than 300 years, it recently celebrated a huge comeback. Here are the seven best bottles available out there in 2023.

Poitín certainly is one of the lesser-known spirits out there. After its ban in 1661, it took until 1997 to be legalized again. If you are interested in the history of Poitín, you can read this article that sheds some light on the Irish Moonshine.

Poitín certainly is one of the lesser-known spirits out there. After its ban in 1661, it took until 1997 to be legalized again. If you are interested in the history of Poitín, you can read this article that sheds some light on the Irish Moonshine.

The different ways to spell the name can be confusing. The traditional name Poitín is the most common, but the modern and anglicized version, Poteen, is on the rise. And don’t be surprised if you come across the spellings Potheen or Potcheen on some labels. All of them are variations of the same thing. The juice inside is all from the same category.

Poitín is known for its potency. It legally needs to contain at least 40% ABV, but plenty of products exceed this limit by far. Some bottles contain 90% ABV and more. If you encounter such a high ABV, better dilute it with some fresh and cold water when you sip it.

The clear and transparent spirit plays a vital role in Ireland’s history. It has a strong heritage, and since the lift of the ban, it thrives to become another important spirit from the green Island beside Irish Whiskey.

Of course, the recent rise of Poitín begins in Ireland. But lately, more and more distilleries also sell outside the country. With the growing number of distilleries embracing the spirit again, there is already quite some competition on the market. To help you find the best expressions of Poitín, we put together a list of the best Poitíns you can buy right now.

Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen Gold Extra-Strength - 90% ABV

This Poitín expression clocks in at 90% ABV. Knockeen Hills is producing its Poteen since 1996. Hence, they had to wait for the lifting of the ban to be able to sell their spirit legally. That already indicates how much Knockeen Hills is into their Poteen. Over the years, the brand collected over 15 Gold and Silver medals from the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).

And their Gold Strength expression is one funky Poitín. You probably want to water it down a bit after trying the first drop neatly. The dilution helps the spirit unfold the complex flavors and aromas. Grains, malt, chocolate, raisins, pear – there are countless aromas and flavors to detect and enjoy. The high ABV makes for a boozy and warming experience that’s truly unique.

To water it down, add water slowly until you reach the perfect balance for you. And don’t be afraid to go as far as 50/50.

Bán Poitín - 48% ABV

If you’re into Irish Whiskey, chances are, you have heard of Teeling Whiskey before. The relatively young brand opened its first distillery in Dublin in 125 years. That was back in 2015, and since then, the brand quickly gained an excellent reputation for producing high-quality Whiskey.

For their triple-distilled Poitín expression, Teeling uses a mix of malted and unmalted barley. The result is a smooth and sweet spirit with a creamy finish. The flavor profile isn’t too complex and with only little fruity notes. But its mild character makes it an excellent choice for everyone new to Poitín.

Glendalough Mountain Strength Poitín - 60% ABV

Glendalough is another renowned distillery that decided to breathe new life into the ancient spirit. It’s a prime example of craft distilling in Ireland and produced some fantastic Irish Whiskey and noteworthy Gin.

And Glendalough did not approach the Poitin production half-heartedly. They released three expressions at once. Besides a standard Poitín of 40% ABV, they also launched a Sherry cask finished version, and the Mountain Strength Poitín, containing 60%. And apparently, the Mountain Strength expression isn’t just my personal favorite but the general favorite as Glendalough decided to discontinue the other two versions.

The base for their Poitín is a combination of malted barley and sugar beet. And despite its high ABV of 60%, the nose is super soft and buttery with hints of vanilla and fruity notes. Also, when sipping, the spirit is not overly aggressive. It’s strong, and you can feel a burn from the alcohol at the end, but you can also taste flavors like wood, fruit, and hints of grape and blackcurrant.

Mad March Hare Irish Poitín - 40% ABV

Mad March Hare produces an authentic Irish Poitín of relatively low ABV. With just 40%, it is as low as it gets legally. And made from 100% malted barley, it’s definitely on the sweet side, especially in combination with the low amount of alcohol.

If you judge by the smell, you won’t realize that this spirit is only 80 proof. It has this typical alcoholic smell of Poitín with fruity and grassy notes. On the palate, it is a lot softer and super sweet. The aroma of sweet corn and cereal gets complemented nicely by notes of fruits and citrus.

Teeling's Spirit of Dublin - 52.5% ABV

When Dave Mulligan founded Bán Poitin in 2012, he did it for passion for the long-forgotten spirit. His distillate is made of potatoes, malted barley, and sugar beet. But Mulligan admitted this passion quickly turned into an obsession, and he is determined to “bring this epic piece of Irish culture” into the modern world.

And I have to say he is successful in what he does. Bán Poitín is complex in taste with notes of greens, sweetness, and a spicy kick from pepper notes. In combination with a very soft mouthfeel, this is another spirit that’s perfect for beginners.

Micil Irish Poitín - 44% ABV

Made from Irish grain and flavored with bogbean plants, this spirit from Galway is a very earthy expression. Master distiller Pádraic Ó Griallais is in charge of this Poitín, commercially produced since 2016.

The first sip is quite sour and peppery. What follows are sweet honey notes and hints of ripe bananas. And Micil’s expression works brilliantly in cocktails. Try it, for example, in a sour or a Poitín Bee’s Knees.

John O’ Connell’s Small Batch Poitín - 72% ABV

Our last recommendation originates in Cork. For its base, the small-batch spirit used a mix of barley and sugar beet. The resulting Poitín is more on the strong side and clocks in at 72%. And this high ABV elevates the complexity of the spirit. The smell is full of bready notes and carries hints of biscuit.

The taste is surprisingly sweet for the high amount of alcohol. The flavors in this spirit are complex, and it definitely has some heat to it. But it’s still great for sipping. However, if it should be too strong for you, dilute this Poitín with a splash of water.

Knockeen Hills Poteen Products

The producers of Knockeen Hills Poteen actively encourage the consumption of alcohol in moderation and always decline to directly advertise its products in the media, use the medium of ‘advertorials’, or provide complimentary samples as a marketing practice. Further, listing fees are not provided or payment made for any display purpose, both of which could be seen as paid advertising.

Whilst not members of the U.K. Portman Group we unreservedly support their policy in the UK of, ‘If you do do drink, don’t do drunk’. The U.K.Government’s policy of ‘It’s not cool to get drunk’ is also supported.

All reasonable steps will be taken to withdraw the supply to outlets, who offer Knockeen Hills in ‘happy hours’ or any other similar type of promotion.

Please click on ‘more’  to view:

American Spectator

by Kevin Kosar 17 March 2016

Some years ago, I lived in New York and had two friends recently arrived from Ireland. Neither of them thought well of America’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Considering the tsunami of green garb and schlock, Siobhan asked bemusedly, “What does any of this have to do with Ireland?” Dermot was less generous. “If I see another f****** shamrock, I’m going to kill someone.” Neither wanted anything to do with the raucous Manhattan parade or hordes of sodden boys and girls with clovers painted on their cheeks.

That does not, however, mean one should hide inside and pretend it is not March 17. It is what it is, and one should embrace this spring-heralding holiday.

To this end, there are some very basic don’t and do’s for having a decent St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t affect an Irish accent. Don’t say “lassie” or, god forbid, “Begorrah.” Suppress the temptation to put on an emerald green plastic derby, or hang a cardboard cut-out Leprechaun on your wall or window. And, perhaps most critically of all, don’t get stupid drunk. It’s embarrassing.

As for the do’s, well, there is only one: drink good Irish drinks, such as these:

Irish Spirits: Potcheen (AKA Irish Moonshine)

For those looking for a rarer and more intense Irish experience, there is potcheen (also spelled poitín and poteen). For centuries, the Irish made their own moonshine, and in the past 20 years licit versions have been coming to market. Knockeen Hills is an especially good one. It comes in strengths varying from 120 to 180 proof. Yet, this clear spirit is so smooth you would not know it. If you can’t find Knockeen Hills or another potcheen on the bar shelf, ask the barkeep if he or she might have a bottle stowed away. You never know.

Whatever you do this St. Patrick’s Day, don’t drink green beer. It is not Irish – it usually is a cheap American lager tinted with food coloring. Besides, you owe it to yourself and your fellow man to set a good example.

Food & Wine Magazine: 'Three to Try'

by Raymond Blake, Editor November 2014

Below is an excerpt from the ‘Three to Try’ article in Food & Wine Magazine in November 2014. Read the full review here (PDF)

Knockeen Hills was reviewed in FOOD & WINE back in 2002 and enjoys daddy-of-them-all status in the world of poitín. This ‘Farmers Strength’ is aptly named: a sharp, arresting nose with a slight pungent snap will wake up the sleepiest of nostrils and alert the palate to the uncompromising flavour to come. There’s a no-holds-barred quality to this tipple. Not for beginners, perhaps, but worthy of aficionados’ attention. And if you like this then be sure to try the quadruple-distilled Gold Extra-Strength. Brothers, Jack and Stephen Teeling, along with distiller Alex Chasko are the people who are bringing distilling back to Dublin. As you read this, work is progressing on their new distillery in the Liberties, which is due to be commissioned at the end of the year. In the meantime, we have this punchy delight to wrap our chops around. There’s an intense fruit hit on the nose and palate and, despite the strength, the texture is smooth and sweet, with a succulent, lingering finish


'New Orange (Chocolate) Truffle; When adding Irish Poteen' by David Bridgman-Smith, 10 September 2012.

New Orange (Chocolate) Truffle; When adding Irish Poteen

by David Bridgman-Smith SUMMERFRUITCUP.COM, September 10th 2012.

Product review

Some may recall that Diageo (the owners of Baileys) used to make a Terry’s Chocolate Orange liqueur and I attempted a recreation which seemed quite popular, so I was intrigued to try this new version.

From the bottle

Baileys orange truffle flavour is crafted with care from fresh Irish cream, the finest spirits and Irish whiskey.

The finest spirits in addition to whiskey? An interesting addition. The Baileys website doesn’t mention what these spirits are, but I would wager that it was some sort of dairy-based spirit, not unlike the whey-base of authentic Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen.

The curdle

Anyone who has tried to make cocktails with Baileys will probably have realised that, often, if you mix it with vodka (which is usually grain-based) the drink will curdle, but, if you use a milk-based spirit, the curdling does not take place (as you would be mixing dairy with dairy).

Baileys mixed with Whey-spirit Poteen (left) and Grain vodka (right) – notice the curdle.

On its own (at room temperature)

Nose: A strong nose of orange-flavoured chocolate, very much like Terry’s Chocolate Orange, rather than any chocolate containing orange fondant.

Taste: Exceptionally smooth and creamy. Refreshingly, it’s not too sweet, but it is very, very creamy. The orange chocolate notes are strong from the start, along with a burst of sugary sweetness, before this fades away to a less sweet and more lasting, but rather heavy, creaminess (definitely more double than single cream!). At the very end of the finish, there’s a faint hint of Irish whiskey, but the cream quickly takes over.

On its own (chilled)

The nose seemed sweeter, the drink itself more viscous and the finish warmer than at room temperature.

On its own (over ice)

It seems much more viscous when chilled, although it still isn’t too cloying. Again, there’s strong notes of orange chocolate and a pleasant finish of cream. Very, very easy to drink.

With poteen

When I say Poteen I mean the traditional whey-based spirit* and not some grain based variety (which would curdle). The Poteen adds a lovely, spicy kick to the drink and transforms this into a tasty spirit that is better to sip than gulp down. The orange chocolate notes are still very much present, but some of the previously dull cream notes on the finish are replaced with the more spicy creaminess of the Poteen, and there is, overall, a lighter, silkiness.

Baileys Orange Truffle and coffee: superb!

In conclusion

I’m already a big fan of this; it’s by far my favourite version of Baileys, which I sometimes find sickly and cloying. The orange chocolate notes are captured to a tee and its long finish of cream and whiskey is refreshingly non-sweet. All-in-all, it’s ridiculously easy-to-drink, whether that be on its own, in coffee, or – my personal favourite – with a dash of Poteen, which transforms it into a delicious, almost spicy chocolate liqueur with real oomph.

Baileys Orange Truffle is also available from selected Tesco Stores.

Bailey’s and whey-based Knockeen Hills Gold Extra-Strength poteen

I used Knockeen Hills Gold Extra Strength (90%ABV) and mixed 25ml Baileys to 5ml Poteen; for a larger drink mix 50ml Baileys with 10ml Poteen. This creates a drink around 29.2% ABV.

The New Sheridan Club

by Clayton Hartley 17th March 2012 - St. Patrick's Day

The Sunday Telegraph Magazine – August 25th 2002

Drink: Giles Kime chooses poteen at Waitrose.

‘ALONG WITH TEQUILA, ABSINTHE AND grappa, poteen is one of the formerly offbeat spirits that is basking in new found popularity. Waitrose has recently listed the Knockeen Hill Irish Poteen (£14.99 for a 50cl. bottle ) and it seems inevitable that other supermarkets will follow.

Historically, making poteen has been one of Ireland’s most popular cottage industries, despite the fact that distilling it was illegal until 1990. Made from grain (or in some cases potatoes) it is now shaking off its reputation as ‘Celtic Moonshine’.

It is a wonderful, aromatic spirit, with a light, diaphanous flavour, the result of being triple-distilled.

It comes in three strengths: 60% ABV, 70% Abv – and a stupefying 90 per cent for the brave and foolhardy drinker.

The Sunday Telegraph Magazine ©


by James Oliver Curry February 2007

26/02/2007 by James Oliver Curry

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and that can only mean one thing: green everything. Green clothes, green food, and worst of all, green beer. Surprisingly, while we’re all embracing the same hue on March 17, we’re not all drinking the same stuff around the country. An informal poll of U.S. bars and restaurants with the word “Irish” in them revealed that the beverage of choice differs from region to region.

At the Liffey Irish Pub in St. Paul, MN, Guinness stout is the bestseller by a mile, followed by other Irish beers such as Harp and Smithwick’s. (175 W. Seventh St., St. Paul, MN; 651-556-1420; www.theliffey.com)

In Rockaway Beach, Queens, New Irish Circle maitre d’ Karen Slattery says many folks order Black and Tans, an equal mix of stout and ale (Guinness and Bass, to be specific). “But we also sell more Guinness and Bushmills and Jameson around St. Patrick’s Day than we do the whole rest of the year,” she adds. (10119 Rockaway Beach Blvd at 102 St., Queens, NY; 718-474-9002)

Patrons start lining up at 6 a.m. in front of Molly Malone’s Irish Pub in Los Angeles to have Irish Car Bombs — basically boilermakers in which a shot glass of Baileys is dropped into a pint glass filled with Guinness stout and Jameson whiskey. In years past, bartender Anette Karaskiewicz has seen men come in for a morning sip, go to work, return midday for a lunch break, stumble back to work, and then swing by for a few drinks before going home. (575 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles; 323-935-1577; www.mollymalonesla.com)

The only authentically Irish spirit that bartenders never seem to mention is poteen, a form of moonshine that was outlawed in Ireland in 1760 — but which has been legally reintroduced in recent years (it was banned because the Irish government had trouble collecting taxes on it, not because the stuff was dangerous to drink).

Two companies, Knockeen Hills (www.irish-poteen.com) and Bunratty (homepage.eircom.net/~bunrattywinery), sell the high-octane hooch (also known as potcheen, potheen, and poitin). Distribution in the U.S. is limited but we managed to get our hands on both products: The Knockeen, a 100-proof spirit, had a sweet bouquet reminiscent of dried fruit and pistachios, a slight sweetness on the tip of the tongue, and a warm vanilla finish (the company is also planning to introduce a new 110-proof bottle this fall). The Bunratty, on the other hand, is 90 proof, and evoked cough medicine – sort of cherry meets turpentine.

Still interested? If so, call your local liquor shop and ask if they stock any potcheen; some older vintages may still be gathering dust in shop corners. Another option: Rich Stadnik, the president of Pup’s Cider Company (www.pupscider.com), which imports Knockeen Hills, believes some bartenders may still be making their own potcheen or importing real-deal rotgut from the motherland. He suggests going to Irish bars late at night and making friends with the proprietors. They may just offer you a quick sip from under the bar.

Dominick Kenny, owner of the Irish Immigrant Pub in New Bedford, MA, thinks this is rubbish. “Nobody brings that stuff back now,” he says. “If I went back to Ireland, that wouldn’t be something I’d look to bring back with me. They don’t do that anymore.” (818 Kempton St., New Bedford, MA; 508-993-0990).

When in doubt, stick with Guinness. Just steer clear of green beer.

– James Oliver Cury

What's On

by George Ward March 2003

Kent Messenger (March 2003)

The Kent Messenger is the largest selling weekly newspaper in the UK. (ABC Jul/Dec 2001 – ) The readership of ‘What’s On’ exceeds 400,000

‘What’s On Supplement’
Food & Drink
by George Ward

‘The entirely legal trade in moonshine’

So there I was,waiting in a small Romanian town for my contact to deliver some home-made moonshine. When he finally arrived it was with a grubby two-litre Coke bottle full to the neck with tuica, the local colourless plum brandy.

Wonderful. Two litres of firewater of indeterminate strength to get through the Securitate and Customs first in Bucharest and then Heathrow. Pretend it’s water, said a friend”And if I have to drink it?” I asked. In the end I wrapped it in a pair of trousers and sent it through as baggage.


Was it worth it? It’s smooth, tastes fleetingly of plums, in the way that Parma Violets taste fleetingly of violets. I would put it at just under 40 ABV., though you can never be sure about anything home-made. Why should I drink it? Because there’s something about moonshine (why does England have no tradition of the still in the back of the farmyard?).

The chances of getting your hands on tuica, or even its double-distilled version palinca (I’m fluent in Romanian booze terminology), are minimal. But, by coincidence, a distant cousin is available. Legally and in Kent.

Poteen has long been the stuff of folk stories in Ireland. Now Knockeen Hills are producing it in a legal form – at 60, 70, and 90 Abv. The main importers for EU distribution are Vins Francais of Canterbury (01227 700 600). I put up my tuica against their range.

It is good. Barry McMullen, bar manager at Cross Keys, Oaten Hill, Canterbury, got it about right: “I’ve drunk good poteen and bad poteen and you get an idea of what it is trying to taste like, and this is the finished product”.

There are sponge cake, vanilla and lemon in the nose and the taste. It is best drunk with water to soften the high alcohol, which would otherwise numb the tastebuds. Strangely it stays smooth as it gains strength, only the intensity of the taste deepening.


As a mixer it slips happily into the position usually taken by other white spirits. With Coke it adds fruitiness that neither vodka nor white rum quite manage.

There are thoughts of making a quadruple-distilled version, but I reckon that takes all the street-rough, glamour out of the drink.

Poteen is now in some Waitrose stores, on offer on P&O Ferries, from the Barton Post Office, New Dover Road, Canterbury – and the Cross Keys. More info on www.irish-poteen.com

© Kent Messenger Group 2003

Ice Magazine

September 2002

Booze Olympics

‘Laydeez and Gentlemen…The excitement has reached fever pitch as you join us ringside at the start of the most righteous ruckus… It is with great pleasure that Ice welcomes you to the First Booze Olympics…

20 diverse drinks from contrasting countries battle it out and only one will walk away with the heroic heavyweight booze belt. Our seven testy testers slugged each competitor in straight shots-cause they’re hard.

Silver Medal

Republic of Ireland

Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen. Gold Extra-Strength 90% Vol. £27.99 50cl. – ” Despite being viciously strong, its smooth. vanilla taste got a thumbs up from the tasters.

Tasters Reaction: Most of the panel is pleasantly surprised by how smooth it is, although there’s gasps of ‘you could die from that’.

Hot Harpers-On-Trade

September 2002

Potent Poteen

‘Banned in its native Ireland for 300 years, poteen is making a comeback.

Knockeen Hills produces three versions of the clear white grain triple-distilled spirit starting with Farmers Strength at 60% ABV and finishing at Gold Extra-Strength at a massive 90% ABV. Billed as ‘a cocktail mixologist’s dream’‘ it can be used as a substitute for gin, tequila, vodka or whiskey – if you’re brave enough!

© HOT – Harpers on-trade

The Sunday Telegraph

by Giles Kime 25th August 2002

Drink: Giles Kime chooses poteen at Waitrose.

‘ALONG WITH TEQUILA, ABSINTHE AND grappa, poteen is one of the formerly offbeat spirits that is basking in new found popularity. Waitrose has recently listed the Knockeen Hill Irish Poteen (£14.99 for a 50cl. bottle ) and it seems inevitable that other supermarkets will follow.

Historically, making poteen has been one of Ireland’s most popular cottage industries, despite the fact that distilling it was illegal until 1990. Made from grain (or in some cases potatoes) it is now shaking off its reputation as ‘Celtic Moonshine’.

It is a wonderful, aromatic spirit, with a light, diaphanous flavour, the result of being triple-distilled.

It comes in three strengths: 60% ABV, 70% Abv – and a stupefying 90 per cent for the brave and foolhardy drinker.

The Sunday Telegraph Magazine ©

Wine Magazine - Wine Life Spirits

by Dave Broom May 2002


The first legal poteen (the Irish government dropped its objections to the term in 1997) is now on the UK’s shelves. Hailing from Co. Waterford, its a triple-distilled grain spirit. Bottled at three strengths, this is the lightest but still packs a punch. 

Colour/Nose: Clear. Nose of sugared almond and vanilla and, with water, a tangerine apple lift. 

Palate: Sweet as a nut. Lemon/cake flavours with menthol tingle. Dry on finish; touch of butter. 

Conclusion: Miles away from the past illegal hooch, this is sophisticated spirit. Careful though.

RATING: ***(*)* ABV: 60% £14.99 @ WTS

The above review appeared in the edition dated March 2002.

The Guardian - Weekend Magazine

by Fiona Beckett
May 2002

Weekend Magazine April 27th 2002 – P.83

by Fiona Beckett

Knockeen Irish Poteen

‘Triple-distilled Farmers strength’ reads the label on the bottle. Well, that’s a new one on me. Never met a distilled farmer, let alone one that’s been triple distilled.

What they really mean, of course, is that Knockeen Poteen (pronounced putcheen) is a bit of a headbanger – 60% Abv. for the basic version, 90% for the very top of the range. The 60% is very palatable, a sweet, slightly grainy, vanilla-scented bevvy reminiscent of Tequila. It tastes good on the rocks or as a frozen shot, and makes a mean margarita.

Poteen, at one time illegal in Ireland, is now respectable enough to be served in New York’s TGI Friday’s (and in UK branches later this year), where it’s used to make cocktails such as the Irish Tart (blended with strawberries, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream).

You can buy a 50cl bottle of the 60% version from Waitrose for £14.99. The 70% version, meanwhile is available at Bottoms Up and Thresher for £23.49 for 70cl.

The Irish Post

Waterford Best for Poteen" April 27 2002 (Page 6)

Waterford best for poteen.

April 27th 2002 – Page 6

IRELAND’S prestigious Food and Wine Magazine has awarded drinks company Knockeen Hills its coveted Bouquet of the Month honour for its range of triple-distilled Irish poteens bottled in Waterford.

The range starts at 60 % Abv. and runs up to the acclaimed 90% Abv. brand. The Irish Government lifted its ban on selling poteen in March 1997 and there are currently only two legal brands of the drink in production.

The Daily Mirror - Life & Style Magazine

by Keith Richmond April 13th 2002


Text and styling by Lucy Knox & Keith Richmond

Knockeen Hills Poteen is going down a storm with clubbers who want something a little different and, er, alcoholic – 60% in fact.

Well, it is ‘triple-distilled farmers’ strength’, so you’d expect it to be pretty potent. Poteen (or moonshine) has been illicitly distilled in Irish homes from potatoes or grain for centuries.

But this one’s bottled in Waterford and completely legal – £14.99 from Waitrose.

The above review appeared in the Daily Mirror Magazine dated Saturday 13th April 2002.

The Independent on Sunday - My Round

by Richard Ehrlich March 24th 2002

My Round – Richard Ehrlich

Now that vodka is the new wine, what will be the new vodka? Absinthe has been rearing its ugly head for a while, but it needs expert preparation, like the poisonous blowfish of Japanese cuisine, if it isn’t to cause instant loss of conciousness. And the taste, for my money, is unpleasant. I’m willing to take a small flutter on Poteen, the venerable Irish moonshine which has been re-launched several times in recent years.

The latest entrant is Knockeen Hill Poteen, £14.99/50CL at 19 branches of Waitrose, triple-distilled in County Waterford and sold at a walloping 60 per cent ABV.

It is a genuinely good drink, powerful but smooth and sweet. The next vodka? You never can tell.

The above article appeared in the edition dated 24th March 2002.

Food & Wine International, Ireland. - Mixed Case

by Ernie Whalley March 2002

Ireland’s No.1. Food, Drink & Travel Guide.

Editor. Mr E Whalley

Bouquet of the Month Award

Mixed Case.

March 2002. Page 70.

Here’s an oxymoron for you: legal moonshine.

Mixed Case recently received some samples of Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen -‘ bottled in Co Waterford’ proclaimed the label though it didn’t say where the hooch was distilled (we’d hazard a guess at Co. Louth). That the manufacture of Poitin for sale in Ireland has been legal since 1997 and overseas consumption for a good ten years before that is not widely known.

The boys of Knockeen Hills aim to change all that with a product that combines high strength with high quality – triple-distilled from grain, with added flavourings – that gained the brand a Bronze at the Millennium International Wine & Spirits Award. It has also spun off some value-added products including excellent sausages and luxury ice cream.

The folklore – plus the availability of a ‘high-octane’ 90 per cent ABV version- will do Knockeen Hills no harm in the eyes of the clubbing & cocktail set.

But is there anything in Poitin for the dedicated spirit drinker, apart from the mother of all hangovers? Well the intrepid Mixed Case team can report that the medallist 70 per cent ‘Gold’ makes an amazing ‘Martini’; the 60 per cent, drunk straight from the freezer like the Finns do Vodka, was by far the most appealing aromatic of the three, yielding wild thyme, lemon zest and slight balsamic notes to the nose and every drop as complex as a premium vodka, Geneva or Grappa.

The aggressive 90 per cent, sampled neat, yielded up an overbearing vanilla sugar nose – no big deal because it’s conceived as the ‘kicker’ in fruit cocktails. Alas the assembled guinea pigs unanimously passed up the opportunity to road test a ‘no wimps need apply’ cocktail of 90 % Knockeen Hills, Aftershock and Red Bull. Anyhow, BOUQUET OF THE MONTH to Knockeen Hills for their ingenuity.


by Kevin R. Kosar February 2002

The 90% Abv. (180 US PROOF) offered up molasses and caramel and though very dry, it wasn’t scorching hot. In light of the proof, that’s impressive. (Rating ***¾)

Rating ****

AlcoholReviews.com‘s Rating System:

* Horrid – Won’t drink unless threatened with violence.
** Tolerable – Will drink if it is free.
*** Good – Will drink and even pay for.
**** Very Good – Will seek out for purchase.
***** Superb – Will walk miles to acquire.

This article can be viewed at AlcoholReviews.com.

Class Magazine

by Ian Wisniewski, Spirit Master December 2000

To follow


by Kevin R. Kosar August 2000

‘Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen’

by Kevin R. Kosar

At the time of writing (late August 2000), Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen was not yet available in the United States. Happily, though, the 140 proof Gold version will likely hit America’s shores soon. This unusual spirit won a Bronze Award at the 2000 Millennium International Wine and Spirit Competition held in London, England. The first question you’ll likely want answered is, what is it? Well, it’s poteen, a word used in Ireland usually to refer to a homemade spirit, akin to the American term “moonshine”, and possessing illegal connotations. Indeed, for some time, the Irish Revenue Commissioners, who oversee these matters, forbade companies to call their product poteen because, as one commissioner put it in correspondence with Knockeen Hills, “strong association in the public mind of the term ‘poteen’ with illicitly distilled spirits and the confusion that the use of such terms would give rise to as the duty status of such spirits.”

They’ve relented, and now we have the handsomely packaged Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen, which is offered in three strengths: the green is 120 proof, the gold is 140 proof, and the black is a hefty 180 proof, right up there with such potent American spirits like Graves and Ever Clear.

We sampled the 140 proof version. On nosing the straight spirit, we were both surprised- our sinuses weren’t scorched, and there was a pleasant aroma, much liked jarred green olives and a feint whiff of the same barley crispness one gets from a Highland single malt scotch.

Eschewing the bottle’s urgings to drink it as a mixer, we took it straight then with ice. Either way, Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen coated our tongues and slid down our throats. This was interesting, as we had expected it, like other super-strength spirits, to parch our mouths. While it was quite warm, on ice it was easy to drink, as easy as most vodkas of lesser strength. The taste was a mix of the mineral and the metallic (though some have described this striking note an amalgam of melon and vanilla’) followed by a green olive flush.

Clearly, there are some excellent possibilities for mixed drinks. Most obviously, wherever one uses vodka, one might just as well use Knockeen Poteen. Those who enjoy vodka martinis might well substitute Knockeen Poteen for their Absolut or Ketel One (and no need to add olives!) We also made a Mudslide with it (Kahlua, Irish Creme liqueur, creme) which came off grand, as the Poteen’s flavor balanced nicely against the chocolatey-coffee notes that can otherwise be a bit overwhelming.

Rating ****

AlcoholReviews.com‘s Rating System:

* Horrid – Won’t drink unless threatened with violence.
** Tolerable – Will drink if it is free.
*** Good – Will drink and even pay for.
**** Very Good – Will seek out for purchase.
***** Superb – Will walk miles to acquire.

This article can be viewed at AlcoholReviews.com.

Waterford News and Star

"Luxury Irish Moonshine Ice Cream Launched" February 2, 2000

‘Luxury Irish Moonshine Ice Cream Launched’

The Voice of the Irish in Britain
February 2, 2000

A 4.25% Abv luxury dairy ice cream containing Waterford bottled triple-distilled Irish Poteen has been launched in time for the millennium St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen has introduced a range of individual Luxury Ice Cream Bombs containing their own 70% Abv Gold Strength poteen. The 260ml “Bombas” are rated at 4.25% Abv.

A company spokesman urged consumption in moderation, as he said, “eating more than one portion could cause failure of a breathalyser test.” The ice cream will, initially, onlu be available through licensed premises serving food as it is aimed squarely at the adult market.

By comparison with other liquor based ice creams this Irish Poteen ice cream is more than six times stronger than its nearest competitors, which produce an ice cream with Baileys, having an Abv rating of just 0.68% Abv.

The flavours initially available are luxury vanilla rippled with chocolate blossoms, vanilla with a madarin or lemon sauce, or plain vanilla.

THE BUZZ: The Magazine For Irish Pubs Worldwide

"Mean Poteen" Issue 5: 1999

THE BUZZ: The Magazine For Irish Pubs Worldwide

Issue 5: 1999 (Editorial Director: Paul Keers)

‘Mean Poteen’

THE BUZZ is published on behalf of the Guinness Irish PubConcept.


HARPERS, The Wine and Spirit Weekly

"High-strength poteen launched" 10 July 1998, No. 5864, Page 6

‘High-strength poteen launched’

The Wine And Spirit Weekly
10 July 1998, No. 5864, Page 6
(Editor: Peter Bathe)

AN EXTREMELY high strength Irish poteen has been launched by Vins Français. The 90 per cent ABV Gold Extra Strength Knockeen Hills is believed to be the highest strength spirit drink currently available in the EU duty-free market, though being triple-distilled is described as ‘particularly smooth even at such a high strength’.

AerRianta, the duty-free concessionaire at the Channel Tunnel is listing the product, priced at £11.95 or FFr119 a litre at the English and French duty-free shops respectively. This is a saving of £23 on the suggested UK retail price of £34.95 a litre. Gold Extra Strength joins the original 45 per cent ABV Knockeen Hills Poteen and the 60 per cent ABV Farmers’ Strength version.

Harpers Trade Journals Ltd., Harling House, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, London, SE1 0BS

CONVENIENCE STORE: The Fortnightly For Grocery Independents And C-Stores

"Poteen for St. Patrick" February 1998, Page 46



The Fortnightly For Grocery Independents & C-Stores
20 February 1998, Page 46

‘Poteen for St. Patrick’s

A new Irish spirit has been launched into the c-store sector in time to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). The existing Knockeen Hills Poteen (pronounced pucheen) 45 per cent triple distilled premium brand is being joined by a Farmer’s Strength 60 per cent version. The 45 per cent product has already been listed by Shepherd Neame’s estate of 400 pubs and in duty free outlets and is now available to the convenience marker by the case through Vins Français. Suggested retail prices are £12.33 + VAT for the 45 per cent version and £15.31 + VAT for the 60 per cent version.

William Reed Publishing Ltd., Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex, RH11 9RT

HARPERS, The Wine And Spirit Weekly

"Poteen gains distribution" 31 October 1997, No. 5830, Page 8

‘Poteen gains distribution’

HARPERS: The Wine And Spirit Weekly
31 October 1997, No. 5830, Page 8
(Editor: Peter Bathe)

KNOCKEEN HILLS Poteen, the first poteen to be approved for sale to the Irish domestic market by the Irish Revenue Commissioners since 1666, has been gaining distribution in duty-free outlets in Europe and is expecting listings with European and American airlines in the near future.

Since the Revenue Commissioners withdrew opposition of Irish domestic sales on 7 March this year, Knockeen Hills Poteen has been rebadged without the warning on the labels that the product could not be sold in Ireland. Previously, possession of even just one bottle of poteen could result in a fine of up to £1,000. Knockeen Hills Poteen, a 45 per cent ABV product, was the only poteen in production when the ruling was changed, although it could not be sold legally in Ireland. The white spirit is now listed by AerRianta in its duty-free outlets at the Channel Tunnel terminals and is also carried by P&O ferries on the Dover/Calais, and Larne/Cairnryan routes, according to the main EU distributor, Vins Français.

Harpers Trade Journals Ltd., Harling House, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, London, SE1 0BS

BBC1, Breakfast News Complaint to BBC

Complaint to BBC "Serious breach of broadcasting standards upheld" January 2000 This article relates to corporate news on Knockeen Hills:

British Broadcasting Corporation

Breakfast News, BBC1
5 January 2000 & BBC Radio

Following a news report on the 5th January 2000 by the British Broadcasting Corporatation about Irish Poteen, the brand owners of Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen felt the need to lodge a formal complaint to the BBC.

Counsel for the complainant was Mr Chris Hutchings formerly of Messrs. Charles Russell, 8-10 New Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1RS.

The BBC’s Complaints Unit upheld the formal complaint against the BBC and ruled that there had been a ‘serious breach of broadcasting standards’ and a correction should be broadcast.

The BBC’s agreed settlement, included the payment in full of all legal costs incurred by the complainant. A further term of the settlement was that the apology broadcast by the BBC on television and radio was to be made at approximately the same time of day as the original transmission, and not as is usual, merely at the end of the programmes. A request was lodged with Sir Christopher Bland, Chairman of the BBC for the repayment of the applicant’s postage costs which were under £100.00. Sir Christopher Bland replied personally, declining the request, advising there was no budget for this expenditure. BBC licence fee income for 2000/2001 which was 75% of its net income was £2,371 million, with other reveune raising an additional £790 million.

The original publication of the BBC Board of Governors Programme Complaints Bulletin for January to March 2000 issued in May 2000 has now been withdrawn from the BBC’s web-site. A full copy is available by clicking here, whilst the following summary of complaints upheld is an extract that appears on page 9 of the document.

BBC PCU Header Jan 2000


The complaint:

“The owner of a brand of poteen (“Knockeen Hills”) complained that a news item reporting the launch of another brand had wrongly suggested that the distilling and sale of this traditional Irish spirit was only now about to become legal in the Republic of Ireland.”


“In fact the manufacture of poteen for sale in the Republic of Ireland had been permitted since 1997, and production for export had been legal for over ten years. The item’s inaccuracy in this respect reflected unfairly on Knockeen Hills”.

Further action:

“The programme agreed to broadcast a correction.”

Following this, a formal correction was broadcast on BBC 1 Television’s ‘Breakfast News’ and the BBC’s Radio programme ‘BBC TODAY’.

2. Breakfast News, BBC1, 5 January 2000

The complaint:

The owner of a brand of poteen (“Knockeen Hills”) complained that a news item reporting the launch of another brand had wrongly suggested that the distilling and sale of this traditional Irish spirit was only now about to become legal in the Republic of Ireland.


In fact the manufacture of poteen for sale in the Republic of Ireland had been permitted since 1997, and production for export had been legal for over ten years. The item’s inaccuracy in this respect reflected unfairly on “Knockeen Hills”.

Further action:

The programme agreed to broadcast a correction.