The Isle of Harris Distillery - Isle of Harris, Scotland
Style - Contemporary (Modern)
700ml | 45% ABV
Outer Hebridean Sugar Kelp Seaweed, Macedonian Juniper Berries, English Coriander Seed, Cubebs / Javan Pepper, Bitter Orange Peel, Angelica Root, Cassia Bark, Orris Root and Liquorice Root.
The Isle of Harris Gin embodies the elemental nature of the island itself and promises a smooth and complex maritime drinking experience. On the nose, a well-defined juniper note with pine needles, immediately followed by the fresh citrus notes of bitter orange, lime and grapefruit. It develops a complex floral note of rose and wallflowers with crushed green herbs, coriander and gooseberry all underpinned by mixed spice. Sugar Kelp adds to the complexity and richness and gives a dry maritime note.
On the palate it is refreshing, with good balance between the bitter juniper and pine and the sweet fruit flavours of mango, grapefruit and orange. A green herb flavour of crushed coriander develops that's distinctive and smooth with a dry, flinty taste. Overall a long, clean finish. As the juniper and citrus fade away, sweet vanilla and black pepper remain with a gentle reminder of the sea.
The Isle of Harris's local distillers create their gin in a small copper gin still nicknamed 'The Dotach' in honour of a similarly small and feisty local woman who is fondly remembered here in Harris from days gone by.
Each distillation 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 they 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 they remove them from the process entirely. It is an expensive decision to make but it means they only ever bottle the purest heart, ensuring every drop of Isle of Harris Gin holds only the very best of their distilling craft.
The Isle of Harris Gin bottle exhibits carefully considered design from the moment it is opened. The mouth of the bottle has been extensively computer modelled to ensure a perfect pour without drips or spills. The rippled glass evokes the maritime elements of our island, from the wind-blown seas of Luskentyre to the sweeping sands of Seilebost. There are subtle irregularities in form, curves and dimples which seem to effortlessly fit into the hand. The tactile lines become smooth in places, as if worn by tides like a piece of flotsam or jetsam. The paper label holds flecks of Sugar Kelp and copper, each one different with over 20 unique iterations. The reassuring weight of the bottle is held within a crafted solid base, from which rises the colour of summer Harris seas.
Underneath hides a Latin motto to live by, Esse Quam Videri. This is their founder Burr's family motto, in recognition of all his efforts in creating the distillery. It means "To Be, Rather Than Seem To Be", a reminder to remain authentic in everything they do.
The Isle of Harris Distillery began with a simple idea from Anderson 'Burr' Bakewell, who believed that the rare and elusive spirit of this island could be captured in a bottle and shared with the world.
The distillery started life with just 10 people and an ambition to double this number over the next five years. Today, they're proud to employ almost 40 permanent staff, a highly significant number in an island of fewer than 2000 inhabitants.
Connection is everything in the Isle of Harris. Its location off the far northwest edge of Scotland means they rely on each other to get by and get things done. Despite the scattered villages, they are a close-knit community, bound together by a love of this special place, traditions, history, language and culture as well as the confines of their shared geography. Everybody knows their neighbour and no-one is shy to lend a hand or shoulder to lean on when needed. It is an approach to life we love to bring to others, whether here in Harris or far from their shores.