London Calling

As we continue to grow, word of our work spreads steady and sure from house to village and town to city. We are making new friends in new places every week, all the time making sure we build strong ties with our home in Tarbert as we share our island spirit.
 
So when our managing director visited London last week he naturally undertook the telling of our distillery’s story to those keen to hear it. In doing so we marked our first forays into one of the most exciting cities in the world. From our humble Harris beginnings, we’ve come a long way in our first year…
 
We were delighted to meet Douglas Blyde, independent gastronomy consultant and columnist for the Evening Standard. Douglas is a true connoisseur of all things culinary and cocktail so where better to sit down and discuss distillery life than at the legendary Dukes Bar in St James’, Mayfair.​

 

Renowned for its famous martinis and frequented by James Bond author Ian Fleming, the bar is said to be the inspiration for the classic line, 'shaken, not stirred’. It was also the first London establishment to stock our Isle of Harris Gin. So when the equally famous maestro of the bar Alessandro Palazzi offered to mix something special with our spirit the stage was set.  ​

Two frozen martini glasses and a well-chilled bottle of Isle of Harris Gin, his own handmade Vermouth and a bowl of fresh lemons, imported from the Amalfi Coast, were all the ingredients required. A swirl of vermouth, a very substantial measure of Isle of Harris Gin and a twist of lemon for the final flourish of citrus oils created an incredible cocktail before our eyes.

When Alessandro was asked for his opinion about our gin he simply enthused..."It is perfect for a martini. First the bottle, then the story and the gin is excellent…"

        

Afterwards, Douglas Blyde Tweeted...

"Like ink that dries clear, @harrisdistiller #gin is an optimistic, community spirit of an island wound into a beautiful bottle. #TheBest​"

Later, Simon met with the fine folk behind The London Gin Club in Soho. Their bar manager Jamie had discovered our gin on a recent visit to Edinburgh whereupon he returned to report his high praises. As true gin-o-philes we were delighted to hear their positive review of our spirit…
 
“The nose is bold, heady and vibrant, singing out from the glass like a siren’s call….a clean peely citrus-bitter linger with pepper sparkling like the sun on wet shingle…a genuine sweet-savoury gin, which is quite rare if not unique…we raise our glass to the Isle of Harris Distillery” [ Full Review ]
 
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Finally, Simon got a chance to meet Andy Waugh of Mac & Wild in Fitzrovia. Andy hails from the Highlands and heads up this wonderful game and seafood restaurant with a distinctively Scottish leaning. Described by critic Giles Coren as ‘The best restaurant in the world”, Mac & Wild take great pride in sourcing ingredients from Scotland's finest suppliers. 
 
We are honoured to find our Isle of Harris Gin taking pride of place within their establishment and to learn Andy is also a proud part-owner of a private cask of our soon-to-be single malt whisky. With a new, second restaurant about to open in the capital, we were pleased to hear his own success story and look forward to following his journey as we undertake our own.
 
These are exciting times for us here at the Harris Distillery. We always strive to be considered in our work, ever aware that life takes time and that good connection is preferable to quick gratification. But we can already sense the gin-clear potential in cities like London, so far from our Hebridean home. It seems our spirit and story resonate across the miles and we look forward to answering London’s call in 2017.​

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