The temperate climate of the Western Isles and the softest water in Scotland are two reasons the forthcoming Harris distillery will be a hit.
Speaking at an open day to display proposals of the new Isle of Harris Distillery this week Director Ron MacEachran also confirmed the planned timeline for producing an as-yet unnamed Harris gin and the first batch of their anticipated single malt The Hearach.
He said: “We will produce gin from day one which will be available from the visitor centre but the spirit will take three-years before it becomes whisky. We will produce every year and what we will do about 18-months after the three years have elapsed is think about selling some of the younger spirit, provided the quality is right but that is key.
“It has to be matured to the right level and that is when sales would start and we would look to progressively increase that in the longer term and perhaps sell aged variations of it.”
Experts have claimed the water which flows into two reservoirs is the softest in Scotland which is another exciting development in the plans.
“We have been told by the experts it is,” explained Mr MacEachran. “But the water is just one factor. Another is the local climate in the Western Isles which is perfect for whisky maturation because it is temperate, damp and breezy. All of that makes it one of the best locations for a whisky distillery.”
On a single shift the distillery would expect to produce 96,000 litres which is akin to 300,000 bottles a year but over time there will be the capacity, should sales grow as the distillery hope, to scale that production up to move to double and triple shifts.
Mr MacEachran added: “It’s been a fascinating project because the potential benefits of the island and one of the reasons we’ve been able to bring people who are prepared to invest for the long term – the reason is they see it can provide disproportionate benefits to the community and that’s of some importance.”