A Scottish distillery famed for its gin has announced the release date for its “long-awaited” first single malt Scotch whisky.

Isle of Harris Distillers, set up and run by the island community, is to unveil The Hearach, which is the Scottish Gaelic name for a native of Harris.

A private event to celebrate “the first dram” at the distillery in Tarbert will be live-streamed online on Friday September 22.

A village cèilidh with will take place in the community centre on the evening and the whisky will be available at the event and in village bars that night.

The Hearach Single Malt will then go on sale next day at the distillery shop and from the online store before being made available in specialist stores across the UK and globally in October.

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In a nod to illegal stills of old, the islanders said that “the whisky is the first legal dram from the island and every drop has been distilled, matured, married, and bottled in Harris by the local men and women of the distillery”.

The Hearach has been strongly influenced by its Outer Hebridean island home and “will be a spirit of complexity and character”.

The Herald: The Hearach has been strongly influenced by its Outer Hebridean island homeThe Hearach has been strongly influenced by its Outer Hebridean island home (Image: Isle of Harris Distillers)

The bottle, which has been designed by the world-leading agency Stranger & Stranger, will not be revealed until The Hearach is released in September. 

Simon Erlanger, distillery managing director, said: "It’s been 15 years since Burr Bakewell formed the Isle of Harris Distillery Company. We've always said that the whisky would be ready when it’s ready, so it’s a big moment to finally announce a launch date, which will be the distillery’s eighth birthday.

“Back then, we hosted the biggest ceilidh the island had seen- at this one we’ll have a historic dram to toast the island with."

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Ron MacEachran, the firm’s executive chairman, said: "The Hearach’s launch, eight years after the distillery opened, is a wonderful tribute to the efforts and support of so many people – the designers and builders of the distillery, the countless people from the island community and beyond who have supported us in different ways over the years.

"Also, our investors who supported a long-term vision of regeneration predicated on the creation of a distinctive whisky and – above all – the wonderful team who have brought the distillery to life and, notwithstanding the many challenges, have remained passionately focused on achieving product and service quality – now embodied in The Hearach single malt.”

The first seven bottles were hand-filled at an informal gathering at the distillery, which now employs 40, with the original seven founding staff having the honour.