From the beautiful Hebridean isle of Harris comes perhaps the most popular of our gin range – Isle of Harris Gin. Inside this exquisitely beautiful bottle you’ll find more than just a delicious drink. Harris Gin is an attempt to distil and botle the essence of a whole island. Their goal is not only to sell a product, but also the island itself – its geography, its culture, its people.
Isle of Harris Gin first became available in 2015, and in that short time it’s earned a reputation as one of the finest gins at any price. You can tell just from the bottle that it’s something special, and the attention to detail is obvious: a laser-cut logo in the bottle top, a label containing flecks of the botanicals used to flavour it, and of course the glass itself. Its wavy texture, coupled with the blue tint it takes on from certain angles, makes for packaging so pretty some people can’t bear to throw it out. In fact, some people have used them to make table lamps, complete with Harris tweed lampshade!
We could talk about the packaging all day, but it’s the content that matters. And the gin itself is every bit as good as the bottle suggests. Isle of Harris Gin has been formulated with great care. Many of the botanicals which contribute to its flavour, such as orange peel and cassia bark, feature in other gins, so the taste won’t be completely unfamiliar. But Harris Gin has an ace up its sleeve which makes it unique – sugar kelp.
This broad-leaved seaweed, sometimes known as kombu, is common around the rocky shores of the Western Isles of Scotland. Local divers harvest it sustainably from the waters surrounding Harris, and it’s added in small quantities before distillation to impart a flavour we can only describe as “maritime”. Yes, it smells and tastes of the seaside! Not overpoweringly so, mind you – Isle of Harris Gin is a well-balanced, rounded spirit. But there’s an unmistakable note of sea air, along with sweet juniper, bitter citrus and woody, peppery aspects.
So while this gin has a fairly complex flavour profile, it certainly isn’t difficult to drink. It’s easy to enjoy neat, and indeed Harris Distillers suggest you should do just that. But a good dry tonic really brings out the flavour too. Whichever way you prefer it, Isle of Harris Gin is spectacularly good stuff – much more than just a pretty bottle!