Killowen Distillery

Killowen Distillery

Near a megalithic tomb in Northern Ireland, Killowen Distillery is taking cues from the past.

Killowen Distillery is a small distillery in the Mourne Mountains of County Down and is the brainchild of entrepreneurial architect Brendan Carty.

At Killowen, the focus is on pot still Irish whiskey, using its two distinctively-shaped Portuguese stills.

The larger wash still named Christoir has a thousand liter capacity and the second, called Broc, which means badger in Irish, can hold 800 litres. Unusually, these are direct-fired stills.

They seem to be mirroring old monastic traditions, however, unlike the great monasteries of the 12th century, Killowen has only three employees: Brendan and his trusted two-man team of Pearse and Hugh.

Killowen is thought to be the only distillery in Ireland currently to use worm tub condensers, designed to give its spirit a robust and complex character.

A worm tub condenser is a component in the distillation apparatus that converts the spirit from a gas to a liquid by running the vapor through a copper tube set in a pool of cold water.

Their own whiskey is not yet available but looks set to land very soon. In the meantime, they have released their own twist on 10yr old malt whiskeys called the Bonded Experimental Series.

The distillery also produces grain poitins and gin using locally-sourced grain and botanicals.