- The Social Distillery
- Isle of Harris Gin
- Find Our Spirit
- The Hearach Single Malt
A Cask To Call Your Own
Posted on: 6th May, 2016
Since the start of our spirit-making endeavour, the distillery has offered a limited number of Private Casks to those who wish to invest a little in the work we do. While the idea of owning a cask of ‘The Hearach’ Single Malt Whisky may seem like a wish too far, the reality is that with a little help from one’s friends, the dream of one’s own island dram can come true.
Over 200 of our private casks have now been secured by men and women across the world looking to capture a little piece of island history, each marked with their unique names and numbers. Many have purchased a barrel just for themselves but others, like Sarah Geraghty and husband Brian, have gathered together a group of like-minded folk and formed a fine cask collective instead. Dividing the cost among them, each will get to enjoy their share of our spirit when the time is right to bottle the magical whisky within.
Recently we were delighted to welcome Sarah and Brian to the distillery, along with many others who have joined our Private cask scheme, to not just witness the special moment when their spirit meets our ex-bourbon oak, but also to fill the casks themselves, explore the hidden corners of island and, of course, tour our distillery too.
“We heard about the private casks through a friend and liked the concept of a social distillery with a purpose to put something back into the community. We talked to friends and the interest grew and we now have 4 casks as an informal group. We have a really mixed group of family, friends and friends of friends. There is a concentration of members in Edinburgh but we also have members in London and overseas in Sweden, Canada and the US. There are over 30 of us involved in the group, ages ranging from 21 to post retirement with a pretty even split of men and women.”
On the day a group of cask owners gathered with us here in Tarbert we began with an informal cup of coffee in the Canteen, getting to know our new friends in whisky and welcome them to the Harris family before Sandra Fraser took them on a leisurely tour of the distillery. We then brought the group to our on-site warehouse for the joys of cask filling, allowing a real hands-on experience of inaugural spirit finaltaking to wood, beginning an exciting new journey to becoming a Single Malt Whisky for the first time.
After all the initial excitement it was time for some fresh soup in canteen followed by a visit to our Ardhasaig warehouse in the distillery Land Rover Defender with chauffeur for the day Alex Macleod, followed by drive to beautiful Husinish beach via the meandering road through Amhuinnsuidh. Following a stop off for a guided tour of the castle the day drew to a close with time to relax with a Gin and Tonic in a local hotel and a good island blether with local men Calum Mackay and Donald Iain MacInnes, both native Scarpachs. Finally, we rounded things off with dinner and the imbibing of various single malts in the Harris Hotel hosted by our managing Director Simon Erlanger and Distilling Manager Kenny Maclean.
Sarah tells us...
“Brian and I came to Harris for the cask filling and had a great day! It was a little mad as we literally did come for the cask filling event so arrived on Sunday and left on Tuesday by ferry. We have been to Harris once before, in 2008 with my then 94 year old grandmother who had always wanted to see the Outer Hebrides so we took her on a summer road trip. Coming back brought back very happy memories of the time with her! A highlight on Monday was to meet some of the team who we have read about and to hear first hand about their stories and the enthusiasm for the venture. The distillery tour was brilliant, with some interesting and I expect unique features.”
Asked about her cask group's plans she goes on…
“We have a Facebook page for the group and share the updates from the distillery. We have had a couple of 'getting to know you' events in Edinburgh and there is real excitement that we have got to the point in the journey where we have maturing spirit. It has been really interesting to have been effectively in from the start, to have seen the distillery developing and becoming part of the island. As regards plans for the casks, we have some time to make them, but hopefully with 4 casks we will be able to bottle at different ages and see what age does to the whisky! “
We love the idea of friends bonding over our whisky, forming their own community of Hearachs far from our Harris shores and we look forward to following their story as they share in the spirit of ours. If you would like to explore the idea of owning your own cask of ‘The Hearach” we’d be happy to send you an information pack outlining the scheme along with costs and legalities involved in the venture. Please visit our website page for more details.
Meantime, we raise a glass to new friends, waiting patiently for a taste of these islands. Happiness it seems is a cask of whisky to call your own.