A Hearach is born!

Burr Bakewell tests the first spirit.

One of the most important milestones was reached yesterday as our beautiful copper lady Eva worked her magic for the first time to produce the Isle of Harris distillery’s first batch of new make (whisky) spirit.

Our four distillers charged Eva with 2,173 litres of ‘low wines’ and our Chairman and Founder, Anderson ‘Burr’ Bakewell, turned the wheel to bring on the steam. The Tarbert Ten gathered in the spirit hall to watch as the temperature rose above 70 degrees and condensation started to appear at the glass viewing window. At 3:05pm precisely, a trickle of clear liquid appeared in the spirit safe, turning to a steady pulsating stream.

Drawing a sample of this raw spirit, an uisquebeath of around 70% alcohol by volume, Burr was the first to nose. “Rather good”, was the verdict, the words not doing justice to the broad smile. “Both fruity and floral, peardrops and gentle peat smoke, sweet and a little oily”, were the more descriptive words used.

So our distillers have done what they can do. 561 litres of this fiery, raw spirit are ready to be filled into cask. From now on, what this becomes is down to the Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels it will lie in and the Harris climate which will pass through it.

Eva will now rest until early January, when we begin a period of ‘spirit optimisation’, in other words adjusting our methods until our Nosing Panel is satisfied that our ‘new make’ has the potential to turn into a great malt.

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