When people talk about historic beverages, certain images are conjured up in our mind’s eye at the mere mention of specific tipples.
Talk about mead for example, and you’ll likely think of Viking invaders sipping this honey-based tipple from a carved horn after a hard day of pillaging. Think of ale, and you’ll imagine roaring open fires in wooden-clad ye-olde taverns in the English countryside. Think of single malt Scotch whisky however, and you can’t help but think of the weathered and picturesque wilderness of the Scottish Highlands and islands.
The Isle of Harris, for example, is not only home to fantastic coastline and panoramic mountain vistas, it’s also home to an exceptional new whisky and gin distillery, known as the Isle of Harris Distillery.
The distillery offers up the start of history in liquid form, and there is no tipple set to be more historic than their inaugural single malt, Hearach whisky.
Located on the Outer Hebrides, to the northwest of Scotland, you will find the Isle of Harris – The largest island in the Outer Hebrides. Situated here amongst the weather-beaten coastal scenery is the Harris Distillery.
In the picturesque area of Tarbert lies Harris’ first ever legal distillery. Unlike many of Scotland’s other distilleries, the Harris Distillery is not a distillery shrouded in history, dating back centuries. In fact, it doesn’t even date back decades as it was only founded in 2015. Despite that however, the distillery is already producing truly exceptional spirits, and are doing their part to make history.
The distillery has seen more than £10 million invested in its construction, yet it was most certainly money well spent. They have already submitted plans for a larger warehouse and are doing their part to be as eco-friendly as possible.
In Autumn of 2023, The Isle of Harris Distillery released their first ever single malt – The Hearach, and the reviews have been incredibly positive.
The Hearach isn’t just any other whisky, this is an historic whisky. Why? Because it is the first legal dram from Harris.
The Hearach gets its name from the demonym ‘Hearach’ which references the inhabitants of Harris in Gaelic. Up until 2015, the small island was bereft of both whisky, and its producers. The Isle of Harris Distillery has changed that, and is now paving the way for whisky production in the region for decades, and hopefully centuries, to come.
After nearly 170 years, whisky is once again produced on Harris, this time legally, without having to worry about those pesky excisemen.
Taking everything that’s great about Harris, and the Hebrides in general, The Hearach uses Outer Hebridean water, which is incredibly soft and packed full of minerals it picks up as it flows over some of the oldest rocks on the planet.
The elements also help shape this unique whisky. The fierce Atlantic winds help keep it nice and cool in the summer, while staving off snow in the colder winter months. This temperature regulation means that the balanced climate is perfect for whisky maturation, due largely to the fact that there are no extreme fluctuations in temperature. If there’s one thing whisky loves, other than time, its consistency, and Harris’ weather is most certainly that.
Matured in first-fill ex-Oloroso, ex-Bourbon, and ex-Fino Sherry casks, this whisky uses 100% lightly peated Scottish Concerto barley. The peat, which was hand cut, comes from ‘Cleite Mhôr where peat has been harvested responsibly by hand for generations. It benefits from a prolonged fermentation, running for as many as five days before maturing in a combination of the three casks. It’s the contrasting flavours, notes, and aromas found within the three casks that really helps to give Hearach its amazing depth and flavour.
Matured for at least five years, this whisky is bottled at 46% ABV, so there is a fair amount of bite there.
Lightly peated at 12 – 15ppm, you get just enough peat there to let you know you’re enjoying a single-malt Scotch of the very highest of order.
Non-chill filtered, and with an all-natural pale golden colour, this whisky has all the clarity in the world and looks very impressive both bottled, and in a glass. The great thing about this whisky is that different people with different palates will perceive it in different ways. Some will get more peat than others, some will detect more floral notes, and for some, fruit will be the overwhelming note. One thing that is for certain, though, is that all drinkers will be in for a sensory experience like no other.
On the nose you should detect light and earthy notes of peat, coupled with crisp apples and golden honeysuckle. Smell again and you’ll pick up the scent of beach BBQ smoke and a hint of vanilla.
On the palate sweet Scottish tablet should shine through, along with toasted almonds, buttery shortbread, vanilla custard, malt drink, toffee apples, and a touch, just a touch, of peat smoke to balance everything out.
The finish is surprisingly smooth and medium, leaving a gentle smoke, winter spices, a hint of leather, ginger cake, and Scottish lavender.
If you’re looking for unique, award-winning, limited-edition, and just downright delicious Scotch, you’ve come to the right place. Here at GreatDrams.com we offer a wide range of delicious whiskies, primarily Scotch, which cater for all palates, all preferences, all budgets, and ones which you won’t find at your local supermarket.
Whether you’re looking for a sweet and fruity tipple, a lightly smoked dram, or a heavily peated whisky that really warms on the way down, we’ve got something for everybody.
Don’t take our word for it, though, take a look and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.