the hearach single malt isle of harris featured

The Hearach Single Malt (2023)

Eight batches at once. That’s how many the Isle of Harris Distillery released of their first-ever single malt. And not small ones either. Today I’m reviewing Batch 5 of The Hearach Single Malt, with an outturn of 12,326 bottles.

Quick math teaches us that roughly 100,000 bottles of The Hearach Single Malt flooded the market last year. For a distillery with a maximum capacity of just below 400,000 litres annually? That’s a lot.

Ardnamurchan’s first release counted just below 16,000 bottles. Nc’nean a little over 5,000 in total. Isle of Raasay topped out at some 7,500 bottles. One more example? Okay, Lochlea Distillery then. Their First Release had an outturn of 7,385 bottles.

If anything, this is a bold strategy by Isle of Harris Distillery (which seemingly paid off). But it’s a bold project to begin with. The Isle of Harris is billed as a ‘social distillery‘, located on an island that saw its number of residents halved over the last 50 years. The distillery is an investment in whisky and the island, employing more than 50 permanent staff.

There’s a satisfying level of transparency for us whisky enthusiasts. While every batch of The Hearach Single Malt is made with the same recipe, you can easily find more details on the distillery’s website.

For example, The Hearach Single Malt Batch 5 matured in ex-Heaven Hill casks (21%), ex-Buffalo Trace casks (64%), ex-Oloroso casks (11%) and ex-Fino casks (4%). The whisky is distilled from Scottish Concerto barley, peated at 14.1 phenol parts per million.

Finally, while there’s no age statement on the label, the distillery website clearly states Batch 5 is at least 5 years old.

the hearach single malt isle of harris

The Hearach Single Malt (46%, OB, Batch 5, 2023)

Nose: An immediate maltiness grabs the attention. The slightly smoky barley husks stand out, but also orris root and plaster. Then a touch of lime, crushed mint leaves and pear skin. Finally a whisper of tobacco.
Taste: Pleasant creamy texture. There’s some liquorice and touches of peach with apple parts. The cereal influence is present as well. It’s sweet with a sliver of smoke. A gentle note of eucalyptus alongside a pinch of white pepper.
Finish: Medium length. Notes of barley and subtle peat lingers. A hint of green olives.

A convincing debut from Isle of Harris Distillery. While The Hearach Single Malt is the distillery's first release, it is already past its infancy. There's a level of integration and subtlety that speaks to the distillate's quality, which already has a style of its own.

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