Isle of Harris gin is made on an island in the remote set of Scottish islands known as the Outer Hebrides.
The Isle of Harris is famous for its tweed, hand-woven by islanders at their homes with pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.
However, with the opening of the Isle of Harris Distillery in 2015 , a new local industry created employment and additional tourism to the area.
Isle of Harris gin botanicals
The gin is made using botanicals that we are familiar with; juniper berries, coriander seed, cassia bark, angelica root, bitter orange peel, cubeb pepper, licorice and orris root.
However, it’s the inclusion of the local sugar kelp that gives the gin its unique flavour and sense of place. This seaweed grows around the island and has a high iodine content. When the are fronds dried a type of sugar comes to the surface, hence its name.
Using a local seaweed expert the sugar kelp is hand-picked carefully so it can re-grow and provide continual harvest. This sustainable practice caused minimum damage to the local environment.
Isle of Harris gin to taste
Pleasingly, the gin has plenty of juniper at the fore; piney and fresh. Citrus follows, a pithy grapefruit flavour. The gin is super dry and has a little umami and sweetness in the middle palate. It has a very long finish with the mouth filling with warm, peppery notes.
Drinking Isle or Harris gin
Isle of Harris Gin stands up beautifully in a gin and tonic, the citrus and juniper dominate, while the pepper notes ensure the tonic doesn’t take over.
This gin truly shines in a martini. Deliciously dry, I’d add a touch more vermouth to soften, and garnish with either lemon to enhance the citrus notes, or an olive (or three).
As if creating a distinctive gin wasn’t enough, the distillery has worked with local glassblowers to make bespoke glassware that compliments the beautiful bottle. I’m lusting over these martini glasses! Maybe I’ll make room in my suitcase when I head over to London in June!
Isle of Harris gin has just reached Australia, with Alba Whisky appointed as their distributor. Retailers will be announced shortly.