IrishCentral Staff, Irish Central
January 21, 2019
Three Swallow, an exciting new traditional single pot still style whiskey from Powers, captures centuries of skill and history in one impeccable Irish whiskey.
A revelatory new release from the distillers at beloved and historic Irish whiskey house Powers has people talking.
Ever wondered what Powers Whiskey tasted like back when the esteemed distillery was founded in 1791? Three Swallow blends historical notes with a contemporary sensibility for a single pot still Irish whiskey like none other.
Three Swallow has been available in Ireland for the past three years, and now the US market can finally get a taste.
Distilled at the famed Midleton Distillery in County Cork, Three Swallow is a perfect example of the traditional single pot still style. Crafted from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Three Swallow is matured in second and third fill American bourbon barrels before finishing in aged sherry casks. This method gives Powers Three Swallow Release a bold yet finessed finish.
And what a history it is. Powers was founded in 1791 by innkeeper James Power, who built the first Powers Distillery behind his public house in Dublin. It was run as a family business with James Power’s son, John, taking over the reins and bringing his own son, James, into the business as it grew, creating a distilling dynasty.
The brand quickly developed a reputation for producing whiskey of the highest quality, and demand only increased through the years. In 1871, Powers rebuilt the John’s Lane Distillery in classic Victorian style. The family expanded it across Dublin City from Thomas Street all the way to the Quays by the River Liffey.
As Powers Global Brand Ambassador Michael Carr puts it, “The center of Dublin City, and especially the south side of Dublin City, was the home of Powers.”
The John’s Lane distillery was constantly experimenting, not only with their distillation techniques but with how to best serve those who loved the spirit. In 1886, John’s Lane became the first of the Dublin distilleries to begin bottling their own whiskey in-house. Labeled with their signature diamond P logo and printed in gold-colored ink, their first bottled expression became known as POWERS “Gold Label” and soon gained international acclaim, with bottles shipped as far as Cairo, Mumbai, and New Zealand.
As Irish Distillers Archivist Carol Quinn explained in an interview with Cool Hunting, the decision to bottle on premises was rare at the time and a real labor of love – though it was more expensive for Powers, it ensured that consumers were getting the real deal, pure product as opposed to cask distributed product, which was often watered down and bottled by retailers.
Unfathomable as it may sound to Irish whiskey enthusiasts today, in the early to mid-1900s, worldwide consumption of Irish whiskey plummeted, spurred by American Prohibition, the Anglo-Irish Trade War, and increasing competition from Scotch Whisky. Powers Chairman Frank O’Reilly, a direct descendant of the original founders, feared that the art of Irish Whiskey distillation would die out. In response, Powers merged with the only other remaining distillers in the Irish Republic – Cork Distilleries Company and John Jameson & Son – to form the Irish Distillers. In the worlds of Quinn, “If there was one moment that saved the Irish whiskey category from extinction this was it.”
Irish Distillers’ state-of-the-art Midleton Distillery in County Cork was created with this in mind, with the pot stills based on those at Powers’ John’s Lane Distillery. The Midleton Distillery was opened in 1975, but John’s Lane continued to produce whiskey until it could ensure that the liquid produced at Midleton stood up to the high standards Powers customers had come to expect.
Powers’ new Three Swallow release is their closest yet to the original. The name Three Swallow is deeply ingrained in Powers’ history and has several meanings, two of which are dear to the brand and its storied heritage.
The migration of the Irish Swallow signifies the beginning of the distillation season in Ireland, and Powers has historically used three swallows to signify the age, quality, and purity of their pot still products. Over time, because of the high quality across their entire portfolio, all Powers whiskey came to bear these iconic swallows.
It also refers to a perk once enjoyed by the coachmen at John’s Lane in Dublin. Each coach had three coachmen – a driver and assistant up front, and another at the rear. They were accustomed to bringing a small flask of Powers on long rides, with just enough whiskey to give each man a good swallow – but not enough to interfere with his job. This tradition of ‘Three Swallows’ for the coachmen helped inspire the Powers’ whiskey logo.
Three Swallow is the culmination of over 200 years of Powers distillation excellence, a true testament to the company’s unwavering commitment to producing only the finest Irish Whiskey in the world, making it the perfect choice for today’s whiskey connoisseur. Powers Three Swallow can be purchased at select liquor stores nationwide.