Good news today from BBC Alba that permission has been given for a new distillery on East Loch Tarbert on the Isle of Harris. Eilean na Hearadh for those who don't know is a stunningly beautiful and rugged island but one with an ageing population and few job prospects for locals. The Isle of Harris Distillers company are hoping to create up to 20 jobs. This is major employment for an area that usually sends its youngsters to the mainland for employment or further education.
Its also good to see our uisge-beatha being made again in our Gaelic-speaking heartlands. Further up the coast is an Abhainn Dearg whose first 3-year old malt was recently released on the world. Unfortunately, the price as £150 for only 50cl is a bit steep. Having tasted some Abhainn Dearg 9 month old spirit earlier this year which was best described as 'interesting but rough', it's probably fair to say that AD is a work in progress.
There are also the persistent rumours of a distillery in Barra. Uisge-Beatha nan Eilean has apparently been raising funds for some years now and secured planning permission. However, its 'distillery' appears to be little more than a windswept moor at this point in time. Ditto, the late Sir Iain Noble's plans for a new distillery at Torabhaig on Skye's Sleat peninsula. Another Skye malt would be very welcome.
Here's hoping that there's a new 'archipelago' of island malts which we can savour in years to come as well as a new clutch of distilleries to visit.