Under the tutelage of 'flavour guru' Gordon Steele, Shona and Harry are honing their sensory skills as they continue an ongoing education in the nosing and tasting of whisky.
Shona tells us…
"It's just so exciting for Harry and I to be involved from the very beginning of the project to now having the opportunity to be so close to the whisky. But, of course, it's a big responsibility too; at the end of the day, we want to produce a dram that all Hearachs will be proud of."
We are naming our inaugural dram 'The Hearach', the Scottish Gaelic word for a native of Harris. So, it's only fitting that people from our island are involved in the process.
Earlier this week, some of the sensory panel, drawn from our community, met with Gordon, Shona, and Harry behind the closed doors of the Flavour Room to further refine their final 'recipe'.
We are maturing our whisky in a variety of oak casks. Over time, each will transform the new-make spirit, imparting key flavours and adding unique aspects of complexity and character.
We can then bring this all together harmoniously to create the kind of whisky we feel truly captures the best of our island in a historic single malt.
Harry tells us…
"We want a single malt whisky that is consistently exceptional every moment someone sits with our dram. Having this rare opportunity to be hands-on with these decisions, it's an honour to be a part of laying our island's whisky foundations."
Shona and Harry were also generous enough to bring their fellow distillery colleagues into the decision-making, with a series of sensory sessions.
Nine mysterious glasses were presented to the participants, and we were asked to simply compare and contrast our favourites, with only anonymous numbers as reference.
They remained tight-lipped as we nosed the wonderful aromas on offer and filled out the forms to indicate the glasses we liked the best.
Our team has a wide range of tastes, from the amateur drammer to the long-time whisky geek, but for all of us it was an excellent opportunity to participate in the process.
The question which remains on everyone's lips is "when will all this be ready to share with the world?"
The answer, as ever, is only when the time is right. But, that time is coming, and we look forward to sharing the senses and spirit of Harris before too long.