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Isle of Harris distillery

If you are looking for the Isle of Harris Distillery, you will find it on your whisky map in the extreme north-west of Scotland. Founded in 2015 in Tarbert, the distillery is, along with Abhainn Dearg, the only whisky distillery in the Outer Hebrides. We introduce the newcomer.

The island of Lewis and Harris is relatively remote and is characterized by rough, pristine nature. Only about 21,000 people live here and tourism is the main industry. Due to the influence of the Gulf Stream, the island enjoys a constant climate. Even in summer, the thermometer practically never rises above 20 degrees, but frost is a rarity even in the long, windy winter. Anderson Bakewell, who founded the Isle of Harris Distillery together with two well-known partners in order to strengthen the local economy, also thought of good conditions for the production and storage of Scottish whisky.

Isle of Harris Distillery whiskies

Production at the Isle of Harris Distillery started in September 2015, initially production focussed on gin. The first New Make distilled from malted barley ran through the copper stills into the Spirit Safe in December of that year. Since then, up to 180,000 liters per year have been diligently distilled and stored in several warehouses on the island.

  • As of now, there is no single malt whisky from the Isle of Harris Distillery.
  • The future whisky is said to be called The Hearach, which is also the name given to the residents of Harris.
  • The whisky should have a full body and fruity, salty and other typical flavors of island whiskies.


Isle of Harris Distillery’s whiskies are distilled from barley that has been kilned over peat smoke. The phenol value is primarily between 12 to 14 ppm. In addition, a 30ppm more heavily peated whisky has also been distilled, using local peat from the island. The fermentation of barley usually takes three to four days (72 to 96 hours). Isle of Harris uses two copper stills to distil the whisky. As usual, the wash still is slightly larger at 7,000 liters than the spirit still at 5,000 liters. The Lyne Arms are designed descending. This reduces reflux during distillation and makes for a heavy distillate as more of the heavier oils make their way into the condenser.

At the Isle of Harris Distillery, the regional idea is also continued in the storage of the whisky. Several modern warehouses on the island are available for maturing. Mainly American bourbon barrels and Spanish sherry casks are used. Also, to a lesser extent, rye whisky casks from Pennsylvania and Sauternes casks from the Bordeaux wine region in France. It will be exciting how these casks will shape the future Isle of Harris whisky. While no single malt from Isle of Harris has been released yet some key decisions have been made for bottling. The whiskies are will be bottled uncolored and unfiltered with an ABV of around 46% or more.

Isle of Harris factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Isle of Harris Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 2015 - Present Malt Isle of Harris Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group