Barrels From Bordeaux

Here at the Isle of Harris Distillery we love good wood, particularly if it’s been crafted into oak casks which have held some equally well-crafted contents.

We also love making new friends, so we were delighted to connect with Tony and Youmna Asseily from Château Biac after they heard our distillery story through friends visiting their wonderful French vineyard.

Tony tells us…

“As great lovers of Scotland, where we enjoyed memorable holidays and single malts, I got in touch to ask if I could have one of our sweet wine barrels filled with your whisky spirit, as I had heard that sherry and bourbon casks have been used before.”

We were more than happy to oblige, and decided to procure two of their beautiful barrels for our distillery as well.


The casks are made of French Oak by the Saury company who have been coopers since 1873. They originally contained Secret de Chateau Biac, a sweet “noble rot” wine typical of the Bordeaux region and made in the best tradition of great liquoreux.

As three casks were loaded onto a truck at their winery near Langoiran, the Biac team played some bagpipe music and sent us a lovely video of the moment. So, it was only fitting that we did likewise when the time came to fill them here in Harris.

Tony and Youmna are no strangers to our island either, having made the journey to our door themselves earlier this year. They’re also fans of our Isle of Harris Gin, as Tony enthuses…

“Harris Gin is truly unique. It stands out because of its aromas which we have never tasted in any other gin: sweet, yet fresh, wild herbs but not overpowering and very velvety in its texture.”


We’re really looking forward to exploring the flavours and aromatic elements these new additions to our collection of casks will bring to our new-make whisky spirit.

As their contents mature, there might be a blend of exotic soft spices and perhaps a touch of dried apricots and marmalade, aromas typical of the Chateau Biac sweet wine. But so much of the maturation magic is in the not knowing…

Meantime, we encourage you to seek out the work of this excellent winery from merchants such as Uncorked and Sheldon’s. Or should you find yourself in France, Tony and Youmna are always delighted to receive visitors for a tour of their vineyard, winery and a tasting or two.

Having sampled their sweet wine already, we’re sorely tempted to take the long road to Langoiran ourselves…

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