The Hearach Single Malt

The Hearach Single Malt

Isle of Harris distillery started in 2015. They claim they’re the first commercial distillery on the island, although you could argue Abhainn Dearg is technically on the same stretch of land. The plan was to create a locally rooted distillery which could become a long-term employment solution for Harris residents. They now employ over 50 people (that’s 2.5% of the popoulation of the island).

A first NAS expression was originally expected around 2020 but things turned out differently, focusing on kelp-infused gin in the meantime. In September 2023 they presented The Hearach, a single malt that is released in batches of around 13,000 bottles. Hearach means the native.

It is a lightly peated single malt (12-14 ppm) from a combination of first-fill bourbon casks with Oloroso and Fino casks. Eight batches were released at the same time (see press release), we try Batch 00005 which is imported by Bresser & Timmer in The Netherlands.

The bottle packaging is really nice, with a unique folding structure. It’s not a box per se, more like an open cardboard container. Beautifully executed, although I should add that it tends to open unintentionally (with the bottle sliding out) if you don’t pick it up the correct way. A risky choice and I wouldn’t be surprised they move away from it at a later point.


The Hearach single malt (46%, OB 2023, Batch #00005-23)

Nose: quite fresh and mentholated right away. Hints of crushed grains and hay. Subtle beach bonfire in the distance. Then some sweeter hints of custard and caramelized nuts, as well as lime and stewed apples in the background. Light whiffs of green leafy notes and a touch of leather.

Mouth: a sweet and minty combo again, with a good oily texture. Yellow apples and hints of peach. Then mint leaves, subtle white pepper. Creamy vanilla custard, barley and honeyed breakfast cereals. Floral notes. There’s some peat smoke too, not very in-your-face but nicely subtle and integrated.

Finish: decent length, with hints of liquorice, peat and green herbs coming out.

Overall this is a nice first impression which makes us curious for the future. A light profile, and I’m not sure I can detect any of the sherry casks, but I really like the minty freshness and nice balance. Sold out from the major retailers in the UK, but on its way to shelves in Holland.