- The Social Distillery
- Isle of Harris Gin
- Find Our Spirit
- The Hearach Single Malt
Scotch & Rye
Posted on: 10th November, 2016
Despite the success of our Isle of Harris Gin, at our heart we are a first and foremost a whisky distillery. Each day our distillers produce wort from malted barley grist, filling our Oregon pine washbacks for fermenting. From here we produce an island spirit in our two beautiful copper ‘dancing’ stills before finally committing this new ‘uisge beatha’ to wood.
We are excited about the wood we use, seeking to source the best casks we can from across the world. Our main casks are American oak from the Buffalo Trace distillery, one of the oldest bourbon producers in Kentucky, USA. We also have large sherry butts for ageing our spirit, again single-sourced, this time from José y Miguel Martin, a family-owned producer in the dusty hills near Huelva in the south-west of Spain.
And now we have an interesting experiment to bring to bear, an unusual addition and we believe a first for the maturing of a single malt whisky, that of casks which have held Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey. Holding some 53 gallons, these barrels were made by a highly-respected cooper in Missouri and use well-seasoned white oak from the Ozark Mountains, a wood well known for delivering superior results.
Which all sounds exciting and full of experimental potential to us!
We’ve sourced these casks with the help of Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey and its founder and distiller Herman C. Mihalich. Herman grew up in Western Pennsylvania above a tavern that was started as a speakeasy by his Grandfather in the 1920s and started the Dad’s Hat distillery with business partner John Cooper in 2010 becoming the first whiskey distillery in Pennsylvania since the 1980s.
Their Classic Rye recently won Whisky Advocate’s 'Craft Whisky Of The Year’ and they also produce a Straight Rye, from which we took our casks. So we're looking to the notes and flavours of this spirit to perhaps give some indication of what this wood might bring to our own dram. There’s talk of rye grass and burnt sugar with hints of vanilla, layers of pepper and cinnamon spice, green apple, fig and cocoa powder and hints of vanilla and tobacco.
While as a single malt distiller we only use malted barley as our grain (Dad’s Hat use mainly rye grain and malted rye) we are excited about the potential effects and flavours their casks will impart to our spirit. We’re pleased to have forged this new friendship across so many miles of land and sea and will be returning to the Dad’s Hat story in the future as there is still much to tell.
Meantime we raise a glass to whisk(e)y making in all its forms and to the wonder of wood as it sets out to do its well-loved work.