Telling the story of a young distillery is a blessing, particularly one which is rooted in a place like the Isle of Harris. There is seldom a lack of tales to tell and each month seems to bring with it some sort of quiet milestone.
In troubled times, it’s these glimpses of good news which remind us that the work we do here in Tarbert is rather special, and just the beginning of what will be a multi-generational enterprise.
This week, without much fuss or fanfare, we sent the first samples of Harris single malts out into the world.
These drams, carefully drawn from our privately-owned casks, made their way across the rough seas of The Minch, the first legal whisky made by Harris hands to ever leave our island shores.
When we set out to create the distillery, we couldn’t have imagined the extent to which our plans would capture the imagination of whisky lovers around the world.
The enthusiasm and support shown by men and women who invested in their own casks, and joined our 1,916 endeavour, during the early days of our history have ensured the distilling work here has gone from strength to strength.
The first of these private casks were filled in 2016 and as they now reach the four-year mark, as agreed, we withdrew and bottled a 200ml sample from each to send to their owners.
Made using the softest of Scottish water from Abhainn Cnoc a ‘Charrain, every drop has been distilled and then matured in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels here in our elemental isle.
These past few weeks, a valinche-full of their contents have been bottled and bound within bespoke boxes, hand-labelled by the team, and personalised by our Head Distiller Kenny Maclean.
As 194 golden glass vessels set sail for the eager hands of their new owners, Kenny tells us…
“As a proud Hearach, it is the privilege of my working career to be able to present these people with a first sample of their cask’s whisky. I hope they will find its contents as inspiring and evocative of this special place as I and my colleagues believe it is.”
“Their contents represent not only a historic moment in Harris whisky-making but an affirmation of our values and aspirations for the future. They are the result of our endeavour to produce a dram which embodies the best of our Outer Hebridean home, and something truly worthy of bearing its name.”
So now, after four long years of quiet chaos within their casks, the hidden conversation between the wonderful elements of spirit and good wood, the land, sea and sky, can be heard for the first time.
We’re looking forward to hearing opinions on what is found within when their owners are able to pause, reflect, and take time to taste their new whisky.
More bottles will be sent forth as the coming months and years go by, paving the way for The 1,916 and wider public release of ‘The Hearach’ single malt whisky when it is right and ready to do so.
Meantime, whether whisky drinker or gin lover, we thank you for being with us in whatever way you can. In the midst of these most difficult of days, the future holds much to look forward to as we write these new chapters together.