Spirits news from the Hebrides

THREE spirits stalwarts on the Outer Hebrides are having a busy start to the year.

Angus A MacMillan and Angus E MacMillan, the father-and-son team building Benbecula distillery, have unveiled the first three bottles from MacMillan Spirits.

They’ve launched: “Wheelhouse Whisky”, an eight-year-old single cask Islay single malt; “Machair Gin”, a gin that contains heather and wild angelica harvested on their Uist croft; and “Molucca Rum”, an eight-year-old golden rum.

Managing director Angus A MacMillan said: “As a proud islander, I wanted to bring together flavours and stories inspired by the Outer Hebrides to MacMillan Spirits.

“Wheelhouse Whisky, Machair Gin, and Molucca Rum each have their own story, but Molucca Rum is my favourite.

“It’s inspired by Martin Martin’s 1703 book, A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland, which talks about finding Molucca beans – sometimes known as sea hearts – on the Western Isles.

“Molucca Beans are smooth seeds from the warri tree, which wash up on our Hebridean beaches having been carried on the Gulf Stream from the Caribbean.”

Meanwhile, Isle of Barra Distillers has signed its first deal with upmarket grocery chain Waitrose.

Its Barra Atlantic Gin will be launched in 120 supermarkets, before spreading throughout the UK.

“This move also not only creates more roles within our distillery team but it also safeguards our current roles and that is key to our fragile Islands economy,” said distillery managing director Michael Morrison.

The family-owned distillery was launched in 2017.

Finally, The Island Spirit Whisky Shop in Stornoway is organising a gin tasting on 11 February at The Caladh Inn to raise money for Bethesda Hospice, which is marking its 30th anniversary.

Barra, Harris, and North Uist distilleries will show their gins at the event, which will also feature music by Willie Campbell and Jane Hepburn.

Husband-and-wife team Iain and Mary Faller opened the shop in 2020.

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages, in association with Cask & Still magazine.

Plus, don’t miss Blair Bowman’s whisky column in the February issue of Scottish Field magazine.