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HARRIS

THE  ISLE  OF  HARRIS  DISTILLERY   LTD

The Hearach


A NEW single malt whisky is to be distilled on Harris, in a first for the island recently voted as the best in Europe.
The new single malt will be distilled, matured and bottled at a new distillery being built in Tarbet on the Hebridean island, noted for its strict observance of the Sunday sabbath.
Around 300,000 bottles of the malt, called The Hearach - the gaelic name for inhabitants of the island - are to be produced a year at the £10m Isle of Harris Distillery Ltd, which is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
It is only the second whisky distillery to be built in the Outer Hebrides - the other being on the Isle of Lewis - and will open up an entirely new whisky region for Scotland.
Work has already started on the plant that will eventually bring 20 vital jobs to the island.
'Social distillery'
The distillery, which has attracted finance from 17 private investors around the world, has also won the support of the Harris Tweed Authority, local politicians and the people of the island themselves, as well as whisky enthusiasts and connoisseurs.
The project has also secured £1.9 million in funding from the Scottish Government.
Simon Erlanger, Director of Isle of Harris Distillery Ltd, said: "We are building the 'social distillery' for the island and people of Harris.
"The Hearach single malt will create sustainable employment and economic growth and optimism for the people of Harris - while the spirit of Harris itself will shape the unique character of this new whisky.
"Harris is an elemental place. The way of life in the island has deep roots, its people take time to savour what they enjoy and we believe The Hearach single malt will reflect that."
The first of The Hearach will not be available in shops until it has matured for a number of years, but a limited number of casks from the first year's production will be made available for sale.
Visitors to the island - recently voted by TripAdvisor users as the finest in Europe - will also be able to visit the distillery, and a members' club is also set to be founded.
Mr Erlanger added: "Collectively, we hope that this will give anyone who is interested a chance to get involved."


This community-focused project led by an Anglo-American musicologist is the first commercial distillery to be built on the island of Harris.
The ‘social distillery’ is a true island distillery, run by the local community for the local community. All the cows on Harris are fed for free on the distillery’s draff; work experience placements are offered to school children during the summer; local artists’ work feature within its walls and the visitor centre plays home to book readings.
The only style of whisky fit for a distillery like this is a complex island malt, lightly peated with additional layers of flavour from a cloudy wort and long fermentations. Of course maturation takes place completely on the island, predominantly in ex-Bourbon casks with some oloroso Sherry butts.
The single malt will be bottled as The Hearach (a Harris islander), which won’t be ready for some time, but expect it to be full-bodied, fruity and with a touch of that salty, windswept Hebridean character island malts are famous for.

The Isle of Harris distillery officially opened in September 2015, though the story of the Hebridean island’s first commercial distillery begins several years earlier.
Musicologist Anderson Bakewell, who owned a property on the neighbouring island of Scarp, was troubled by the dwindling population of Harris, an island he cared deeply about. Despite not being an avid fan of whisky, he sought to build the island’s first distillery in Tarbert, the island’s capital and ferry link to Skye. His plan was to create a business that not only involved the local community but also provided an attractive long-term employment solution for Harris residents.
Not long after selecting a site on the main north-south road through Tarbert, Bakewell’s project secured the largest public grant awarded to a food and drink business in Scottish history. Further grants and private investments soon flooded in from all over the world.
Upon opening, Isle of Harris distillery employed 10 workers, a number that has since risen to over 20.
While the team is adamant it won’t release its first official bottling ‘until it’s ready’, expect to see an NAS expression rolled out in limited quantities around 2020.
Until then, the distillery produces and bottles Harris gin, which is made with nine botanicals that ‘capture the elemental nature’ of the island.

CAPACITY (MLPA) i
0.23
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
72-120 hours
FILLING STRENGTH i
63.5% abv
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
1.2
HEAT SOURCE i
Steam from external heat exchangers
MALT SPECIFICATION i
12-14ppm for core expression
MALT SUPPLIER i
Bairds of Inverness
MASH TUN TYPE i
Semi-lauter
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
69% abv
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
100%
SPIRIT STILL CHARGE (L) i
4,000
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Onion
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
5,000
STILLS i
2
WAREHOUSING i
On-site warehouse in Tarbert; off-site warehouse in Ardhasaig
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
6,000
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Onion
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
7,000
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
6,000
WASHBACK TYPE i
Oregon pine
WASHBACKS i
5
WATER SOURCE i
Abhainn Cnoc a’Charrainn
WORT CLARITY i
Partially cloudy
YEAST TYPE i
Lallemand dried
OWNER
Isle of Harris Distillers logo
CURRENT OWNER
Isle of Harris Distillers
2015 - present
s
THE SOCIAL DISTILLERY

THE HEARACH SINGLE MALT

THE NEW APPRENTICE
Posted on: 9th November, 2018

Tonight, we’re very pleased to announce the appointment of our first apprentice distiller. After an island-wide search, we’re delighted to welcome local school-leaver Rebekah Morrison to our team of Isle of Harris spirit-makers and the wider distillery family.

With the future of our island at the heart of everything we do, Rebekah’s new role embodies our ambition to create secure long-term employment here in the Outer Hebrides, particularly for young people who wish to remain in the community and set down roots of their own.

Rebekah lives in the village of Bowglass and initially joined us for work experience while still at school, continuing the connection through holiday and weekend work. After seeing our appeal for a new apprentice through social media she was inspired to apply for the role…

“I had a lot of encouragement to apply from family and friends and I was also very keen to learn the process of distilling. Whisky production in particular fascinates me, but it was never something I had thought would be possible for me to do, especially not here at home.”

  

After submitting her CV, she was invited to meet our head distiller Kenny Maclean for an interview to ascertain her suitability for the position. It’s safe to say Kenny was impressed by what he saw and heard, as he tells us…

“It was clear how able and enthusiastic she was, not only in her approach to the work required but also to the importance of being part of a team. Combined with her positive demeanour and obvious interest in distilling, I felt she was the right person for our first apprenticeship."

After much discussion with the rest of the distillery team, we were finally ready to make Rebekah an offer and, after interrupting a lunch with her Mum in Stornoway, we broke the good news to her by phone which was apparently met with much excitement around the table.

Rebekah tells us…

“I had started a course in access to the Merchant Navy at the college in Stornoway, but I really wanted to stay in Harris. I feel so fortunate to have this exciting opportunity and I’m really looking forward to getting hands-on, learning the entire distilling process inside and out!”



She continues…

“Being a distiller is definitely the career path I want to pursue and I’m very excited about what the future has in store. The people and being a part of the community makes the island home for me so it’s amazing to have this chance to stay and work right here in Harris."

Rebekah has now begun her long journey to becoming a fully accredited distiller with us. These are early days in a craft which often takes a lifetime to fully master and there is much to learn along the way as she works towards a formal Spirits Industry Vocational Qualification.

But we’re confident that this young woman will thrive in her apprenticeship and will go on to inspire new generations of young people to remain here in the islands, carve out careers and play their own vital role in ensuring our island's survival and revival as the decades go by
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