While preparations continue for distilling the spirit for ‘The Hearach’ whisky, the distillers are busy creating The Isle of Harris Gin. The small copper still, known affectionally as ‘The Dottach’, imbues the spirit with the complex delights of nine specially chosen botanicals as they seek to capture the elemental nature of the island, particularly the maritime influences of the seas which surround them on all sides.
Juniper, Coriander, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Cubebs, Bitter Orange Peel, Licorice and Cassia Bark all play their role in defining the taste of the gin. But it is Sugar kelp which is key to the subtle coastal notes that mark out the spirit. Hand-harvested by a local diver from the deep underwater forests of the Outer Hebrides, this natural and sustainable ingredient completes the wider aspects of the gin’s flavour profile.
Nose – A well-defined juniper note with pine needles, immediately followed by the fresh citrus notes of bitter orange, lime and grapefruit. The gin develops a complex floral note of rose and wallflowers with crushed green herbs of coriander and gooseberry all underpinned by mixed spice. The sugar kelp adds to the complexity and richness and gives a dry maritime note.
Palate – A refreshing gin with a good balance between the bitter juniper and pine with the sweet fruit flavours of mango, grapefruit and orange. A green herb flavour has developed with crushed coriander. Distinctive and smooth with a dry flinty taste.
Finish – Overall a long, clean finish. As the juniper and citrus peel notes fade away, sweet vanilla and black pepper remain with a gentle reminder of the sea