When we tell our island story each week, one of the challenges is to be open, straight, and true with our tales at all times.
It would be very easy to fall back on the old and obvious Outer Hebridean cliches, portraying our island as a place full of wisened weavers and characterful crofters, beautiful blackhouses and pungent peat-smoke.
We're a 21st century community but much of what sets us apart still endures, be it our native language and its surrounding culture, or the traditions we hold dear alongside a particular take on life.
One such truth is, for better or worse, time here tends to move at a slightly different pace.
Whether dictated by the vagaries of weather or simply the respect still given to the seventh day, a combination of patience and pragmatism is something we naturally embrace.
It's also something we try to bring to our whisky making, with slow and gentle mashing, long fermentations, and a preference for doing things right rather than rushed.
So, we thank everyone who is waiting for the arrival of The Hearach single malt whisky for their fortitude as we take a little longer to bring our first historic dram into the world.
The good news is that we are making great progress, and over the coming months we’ll be sharing more stories from the copper stills and connecting you further to the contents of our oak casks.
To whet your palette, earlier this week, our storytellers Lauren and Mairi dropped by our Ardhasaig warehouse just in time to meet some of the distilling team as they sampled a selection our maturing spirit.
Harris has no shortage of stunning spots, but the location we chose to build a home for our beautiful barrels is a wonderful one.
Just yards from the Atlantic’s shores and a deep bay full of bobbing fishing boats, the surrounding vista of Harris hills and a soundtrack of local livestock make it an exceptional place for the work at hand.
Amidst snowshowers and as trespassing cattle and curious lambs looked on, Donnie, Stevie, and Shona set about their task of bottling some of the warehouse wares for further tasting.
Among the offerings were barrels formerly filled with Kentucky bourbon, some Pennsylvanian rye, a Sauternes-style from Bordeaux, as well as big sherry butts from a single Spanish bodega.
And, as the long copper valinch drew the required sample drams, we also graced a few glasses for those gathered that afternoon.
A more formal get-together will take place in Tarbert very soon as we continue to assess our whisky’s progress and further develop the ratios and recipe which will eventually define this worthy offering from our island.
It’s safe to say we’re quietly confident with the ever-growing complexity and character being shown by the contents of these casks as we get closer to the day we finally create “The Hearach”.
Soon, we'll introduce you to the people behind the expert blending of our inaugural whisky release, including two new additions to this important role.
Meantime, we remind ourselves that life takes time and that the wait, however long, will always be worth it.