Island Influences

This week our managing director Simon Erlanger was asked to contribute to the debate on the importance of location in whisky-making for the excellent website. Needless to say, as a distillery with a deep sense of place, rooted as we are in the Isle of Harris, we are of the firm opinion that, yes it does!
Unlike many Scotch Whisky distilleries, we distill, cask and mature (and will eventually bottle) all our spirit in the same place, right here in the island. Others choose to ship their spirit away, to be filled and stored in warehouses far from where it was originally made.
It is important to us that our whisky is created, from start to finish, here in the Isle of Harris, not only because we wish to make a single malt with as much provenance as we can muster, but also because we believe that the years spent in maturation here will bring something of this special place to the final product.

In a similar way to the French winemakers’ concept of 'terroir', we are seeking to make the most of the locality to find out what the “elemental” climate of Harris will do for our maturing spirit. There is some fascinating science behind all this but to put things simply, Simon explains…
“It does rain a little in Harris, and summer is only slightly warmer than winter, and these two factors will both have a positive effect on the extraction of flavours from the cask.”
He goes on…
‘Take the same cask to Speyside, where there is much lower humidity and higher temperature variation, both over the course of a day and from season to season, and you will create a different whisky.”

We believe ‘The Hearach’ Single Malt should be an embodiment of this place we call home, so we’re going to let the natural environment work its magic and leave its mark while our spirit matures in casks by the sea at Ardhasaig. Only once the Isle of Harris itself has spoken to the contents of our casks, will we allow our whisky to leave these shores.
How much influence will this secret and silent conversation have on the final dram we wonder. As Simon says…
‘We simply don’t know! And that is the beauty of single malt.’


For the full article, more science, and both sides of the debate please visit


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