A Cask & MacAulay

This week we were delighted to welcome a new friend into our Private Cask Scheme fold as the familiar face of Scottish comedian and presenter Fred MacAulay appeared at our distillery door.

Many of you will no doubt know Fred from his long and successful career in stand-up comedy, appearing everywhere from the Edinburgh Fringe to festivals far and wide, as well as his regular television appearances and radio work.

Fred is no stranger to these islands having played to Stornoway crowds often over the years. It was fellow comedian Eddie Izzard which first drew him to the islands and the warm welcome given at his gigs has kept him coming back for more.

“As a comedian I first came here to the islands twenty years ago, as a support act to Eddie at Stornoway Town Hall. I was standing having a drink with him at the Guilded Balloon in Edinburgh and he said he was doing a tour of the islands. I told him my Grandfather was from Harris so he told me to come and support him, so I did. I think he was the first English speaking comedian to play there! I’ve played Stornoway about ten times since.”

The MacAulay clan has strong island roots in the Outer Hebrides so it’s no surprise to learn Fred’s great-grandfather hails from these parts, particularly the Uig district of Lewis.


“I think it was my great grandfather Murdoch (Murdo) who was from that area and he then moved down to Harris. He was a gamekeeper and got a job on a local estate down here. Then his son Frederick left Harris to fight in the Great War before returning to live in Glasgow and then, finally, settling in Perth. His three sisters Maggie, Bessie and Lucy then left Harris to join him too. He died not long before I was born so I was given his name, the next Fred MacAulay.”

Having a cask here at the distillery also proves the perfect excuse to return to our shores without gigs or other work to worry about, taking time to sample his spirit as it matures. He’s already been made to feel part of the community here, on this only his second gig in Harris.

“We ended up in the Hotel Hebrides bar after the show last night…let’s just say it’s the first time I’ve ever danced a Strip The Willow after a gig. The had a brilliant accordionist in, his brother was on this wee snare drum so things got going as the beers and gin flowed…”

And with that, and with a new bottle of Harris Gin to hand, Fred is off, heading north for his next gig in the town of Stornoway. We look forward to welcoming him back again in the future, with his new cask bearing the name of both he and his Grandfather, as Hearachs fixed firmly once again in the heart of Harris.



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