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Even though this year spring has been slow coming and the temperatures at the moment remind us more of winter, the bird song outside the window early in the morning is unmistakably spring-like. Spring
Standing out in the Atlantic, on the far northwestern edge of Scotland, Isle of Harris is a breath-taking place that needs to be visited to be believed, according to Amanda. The distillery itself was born out of the desire to combine island’s natural resources and beauty and residents skills in order to address economic problems that a small place like this can experience. The Tarbert Ten, a group of ten locals who form the foundation of the team that is tasked with the responsibilities of the day-to-day running of the Harris distillery, combine lots of interesting skill sets, from an engineering background to hotel hospitality business to a bagpiper.
The way Amanda’s career has evolved is an interesting one, deserving a separate, long article, but let me just say here that she doesn’t approach people but rather people approach her and she dives into the chosen projects with an enthusiasm of a child.
”Our collaboration is a meeting of minds and shared values, a love of this island and a fascination for the art of distillation”.
‘Val’, Amanda’s 200 litre Alembic Still, is made from hand-beaten copper providing an ancient method for producing quality essential oils and richly scented aromatic waters, so for the Isle of Harris range, Amanda and the team gathered flowers, leaves, roots, seaweed and moss together, taking a journey into Hebridean mountain, shore and sea. It was also an educational journey for the locals, as they weren’t aware of some of the plants local to the island growing there in the first place. The end result, according to Alex, one of the distillery’s team members, is that ‘Amanda has done a beautiful job of capturing the essence of Harris in the products range – a hidden gem of a place, where the pace of life is slightly different.”
The Isle of Harris offers Thyme, Meadowsweet, Ladies Bedstraw, Heather and many other wind-hardy plants that might be small in size, but resilient by nature and full of aromatic intensity. They also have Sugar Kelp, a seaweed that needs to be dived for and distilled into an Aromatic Water, which will help to bring a coastal flavour to the Isle of Harris Distillery Gin. The most important thing to consider before purchasing one or several of the Apothecary products is that a combination of beautiful oils and plant extracts gives it a subtle, nurturing influence, which not that many of modern beauty products can offer.
Amanda deliberately created a small Apothecary range for Harris Distillery, comprising of only seven products, namely:
– Sweet Gale & Thyme Candle,
– Heather & Thyme Shaving Balm,