Isle of Barra Distillers, Castlebay, Isle of Barra

History - Husband and wife team Michael and Katie Morrison had long dreamt of creating a gin on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. Not just because it would bring jobs they also had the perfect landscape and natural larder to create a recipe that they believed would stand out in a crowded market place. In 2016 they stated their when they launched Barra Atlantic Gin. Like many other of Scotland’s gins they first partnered with a distillery down south to perfect their recipe while laying down plans to build their own and the Islands first working distillery. The gin was well received well by bars and restaurants and quickly they started to think about the next steps of how they would build the distillery. On the 8th of May this year Isle of Barra Distillers were granted full approval by HMRC for a full distilling licence and also bonded warehouse facilities. This was a massive win for the team considering the original plan for this was planned to be at the end of 2020, making them a full 18 months ahead of schedule. Since the approval they have set about finalising the installation of a temporary gin still whilst their proper still, which will be designed and built by the legendary Forsyth’s in Moray, is being made.

The Spirit – They describe Barra Atlantic Gin as having “a perfect balance of floral and herbal on the nose” with “juniper, citrus and dulcet carrageen rolling across the tongue like mighty Atlantic surf breaking on Barra shores”. Which all sounds pretty whimsical but to make it simple, its pretty damn tasty. They have selected 17 botanical’s in its recipe. While they all do there job in creating a balanced gin it is one in particular they are proud of. Carrageen Seaweed is hand picked from the shores that surround Barra and creates a bold flavour, rich in maritime notes in homage to their Island home. Their perfect serve is with a quality tonic water and a slice of pink grapefruit.

Why Visit? – Im sure there is plans a for a small visitors centre when they are properly up and running but I'm sure in the meantime if you were to call ahead they would welcome you with open arms. This is a stunning part of our country and Michael and Katie Morrison have gave it more more thing to be proud of.

Interesting fact – With a population of around 1,000 people and at just 8 miles long and just 5 miles wide, Barra is not one of Scotland’s larger islands, but is is one of its most beautiful. On a sunny day you’d be forgiven to think you were on some Caribbean island and you may even hear the Island referred to as “Barra-bados” on these days. It also has the only commercial beach landing on the planet where the flight times dictated by the tides.