Oisin Davis on spirits: The weird, wonderful, flame-fuelled world of the Killown Distillery

Flame-fed stills are key to the unique taste of the spirits created by Brendan Carty in Co Down

Brendan Carty, director of the Killowen Distillery in Down. ‘The flame creates hotspots under the still, encouraging burning of protein and sugars, a process known as Maillard reaction’.

The Killowen Distillery in Co Down is only 10 metres by 10 metres in size, but somehow its owners recently managed to find the space to put in a new still. When Brendan Carty, its director and distiller, shared this development with me, I likened it to a game of Tetris.

Killowen has an unwavering commitment to reviving traditional methods of distillation, and it makes it one of the most compelling spirit producers on the ...