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- Isle of Harris Gin
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The Antarctic Serve
Posted on: 9th February, 2018
Our bottles of Isle of Harris Gin have been on many exciting journeys since we launched it in 2015, travelling with customers to all corners of the globe, from Toronto to Tokyo, New York to New Zealand and beyond.
But amateur adventurer Andrew Harris has taken our island spirit to new extremes and created perhaps the most exclusive gin serve we have seen to date. Last month he brought his bottle to the edge of world, sailing with it to the pristine seas of the Antarctic.
Andrew is a doctor in the Isle of Skye, and visited our distillery while sailing to nearby St Kilda last year. In January 2018, he joined a team on the 75ft steel yacht R/V Australis taking a bottle of Isle of Harris Gin with him as they crossed the Drake Passage of the Southern Ocean.
Andrew tells us…
“I wanted to take something original from the west coast of Scotland on the trip south. Something to share with a gang I had not met before, disinhibit us a wee bit, loosen our tongues, oil our necks for singing sea shanties, help bring us together as a crew, break the ice so to speak.”
Skipper Ben Wallace of Ocean Expeditions took the team of 11 souls to his favourite secret Antarctic bay, surrounded by mountains, where they witnessed an ancient glacier tens of thousands of years old creak, moan and finally crash a massive serac into the sea.
It was a vivid confirmation of Antarctica’s overwhelmingly powerful, raw, ancient energy…
“The glacier ‘calved’ before us and tonnes of ice crashed into the sea. We felt insignificant. As seconds of our lives overlapped with minutiae of the life of the glacier and the life of Earth. It seemed “rude not to” accept this gift and we scooped up a chunk of ice for our Isle of Harris Gin.”
While it was a moment to cherish, it was also a stark reminder of the pivotal role Antarctica plays in maintaining the homeostasis of our Earth in the face of climate change. Parts of the Antarctic Peninsula have been the most rapidly warming places on the planet.
“As a human race we need to make good decisions not driven by only money. We can make simple small daily changes to our lives, reducing, re-using, recycling…We can support smaller scale, local, sustainable, environmentally friendly, ethical businesses like the Isle of Harris Distillery.”
As their journey unfolded, friendships were forged as they witnessed rolling Humpback whales, sea-kayaked among seals and took a polar plunge with playful Gentoo penguins, all memorable moments to be toasted with a glass of Isle of Harris Gin to hand.
Andrew tells us the international crew described our spirit as “Sublime” “Best gin in the world” and “The best gin I have ever had!”
Our sincere thanks to Andrew for sharing his story with us and drawing our attention back to the bigger issues we all face as businesses and consumers. As islanders blessed with untouched wilderness and unspoiled environments ourselves, we must always try and remember our responsibilities to the wider natural world as we grow.
Ocean Expeditions: www.ocean-expeditions.com
Discovering Antarctica: www.discoveringantarctica.org.uk
British Antarctic Survey: www.bas.ac.uk
The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition: www.asoc.org