How Harris Gin Is Made
FROM THE HEART OF THE OUTER HEBRIDES
MADE IN OUR ISLAND HOME
A TRULY OUTER HEBRIDEAN GIN
We make every drop of our award-winning Isle of Harris Gin here in the small village of Tarbert.
Our local distillers create this first offering from our island distillery in a small copper gin still which sits alongside her larger whisky-making sisters in the distillery's bright Spirit Hall.
We've nicknamed our gin still 'The Dottach' in honour of a similarly small and feisty local woman who is fondly remembered here in Harris from days gone by.
We use Sugar Kelp seaweed, gathered sustainably by hand from local sea-lochs, as our key botanical to express our island's unique maritime nature.
The spirit is softened by the fresh, low-mineral rainwaters which flow from the nearby source stream of Abhainn Cnoc a ’Charrain.
We bottle Isle of Harris Gin by hand here at the distillery too, before applying the labels and closing each one with a natural cork and wood stopper.
Finally, we apply a paper seal bearing our distillery's geographical coordinates to every single bottle by hand, your guarantee of a truly Outer Hebridean gin, made in the Isle of Harris and nowhere else.
ONLY THE FINEST HEART
NO HEADS OR TAILS
We spare no effort or expense in making Isle of Harris Gin the best it can be.
During the distillation process we do something quite unusual to create a gin which is exceptionally smooth and luxurious to taste.
Each distillation we do can be divided into three parts: the heads, the heart, and the tails. Or, put more simply, the beginning, middle and end.
The heads are the first part of the crystal clear liquid which will flow from the still, high in strength but poorer in flavour.
Then comes the heart, the very best of the distilling run and the part we strive to capture.
Finally, the weaker tails emerge, also less desirable in terms of taste, as the distilling process comes to a close.
Most gin-makers will 'recycle' these heads and tails, returning them to the still to be used again, but we remove them from the process entirely.
It is an expensive decision for us to make but it means we only ever bottle the purest heart, ensuring every drop of Isle of Harris Gin we share with the world holds only the very best of our distilling craft
The result is a luxuriously smooth and complex spirit of superior quality, perfect to sip on its own, enjoy over ice or in a classic Martini.
MADE BY LOCAL HANDS
JOBS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Every step of the Isle of Harris Gin journey is placed in the care of skilled local hands.
Our friend and diver Lewis Mackenzie, is responsible for managing the underwater seaweed forests where Sugar Kelp grows during the warmer months.
A former scallop diver, he now handpicks the best gold-green fronds of Sugar Kelp to help us make Isle of Harris Gin.
This defining ingredient in our island spirit-making is then dried for us by the expert team at Hebridean Seaweed Company in the nearby town of Stornoway and sent directly to our distillery in Tarbert.
Here, our five local distillers and two trainees perfect their craft, setting to work each day creating the Isle of Harris Gin we know and love in small batches and with traditional technique.
In this way, the success of our distillery's first release is directly connected to the creation of sustainable island employment as more jobs are made to help us meet demand and, in turn, support the islands' often fragile economy.
We're proud to be finding roles for young people as we do so, including Rebekah Morrison who has joined us as an apprentice distiller after leaving school, allowing her to learn her craft while she continues to live and work in her Harris home.
By keeping every aspect of our business local, Isle of Harris Gin is generating work and vital full-time jobs within our community, allowing us to realise the distillery's ambitions to help our island survive and thrive.
“ We're proud to send our Isle of Harris Gin out into the world knowing that it holds the best of our island home. Every bottle helps connect our customers to the Isle of Harris. ”Donnie Macleod, Isle of Harris Distiller.