Highland Harvest (Organic Whisky)
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Highland Harvest (Organic Whisky)

Highland Harvest (Organic Whisky)

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Chris Parker, who grew up in Edinburgh, is the man behind the newly launched Highland Harvest, the first organic whisky to be accredited by the Soil Association, the UK's leading certifier of organic produce.

The Scotch whisky blend is made from organic grain which is grown and stored without the use of chemicals and pesticides such as are sprayed on grain used in the manufacture of some commercial spirits.

"There is an assumption that all whisky is organic, when the reality is that modern techniques employed in the creation of raw materials such as barley and maize rely on the use of fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides," says Parker.

"These not only work themselves into the structure of the plant but also into our ecosystem because fertilisers can leach into our waterways, affecting the flora and fauna that live and feed on the water."
There may not be any evidence to suggest that organic drinks have direct advantages for our livers compared with the non-organic variety, but few would argue with the notion that a better natural environment is ultimately better for our health.

So whether it's a question of whisky, wine or the mixers you dilute your drinks with, why not open your mind a little the next time you open a bottle of your favourite tipple?

Why drink organic whisky?

If you care about the level of chemicals in the environment, organic is the way forward for you. "You might ask, 'When millions of bottles of whisky are produced a year, how much difference is going organic really going to make?'" says Parker.

"I couldn't deny that our impact on pollution levels is tiny, but what I would say is that big oaks from tiny acorns grow.'"

Does it taste as good?

Depends what you like. Highland Harvest is made up of three organic malts and one organic grain whisky, blended together after maturation on oak barrels in Scotland for four years. If you are a person who likes a 25-year-old single malt, this would be a different experience.

"Organic producers have to use natural yeast as opposed to the cultivated yeast that the industry tends to use," says Parker. "Whilst it isn't as effective at removing all the sugar out of the barley or the grain, it does mean that as a result it's not as bitter or harsh as many of its counterparts.

"At the same time it's extremely high in ethyl acetate, which actively improves flavour. That means you are left with a very smooth, flavoursome drink without the harshness associated with many Scotches."

Are organic spirits better for you?

Yes and no. During the distillation process, the alcohol is siphoned off from the rest of the fermented liquid by a process of evaporation.

However, as Parker explains, the alcohol evaporates at a much lower temperature than pesticides or herbicides which might be contained in non-organic liquid and so these will get left behind in the process, whether your tipple has the organic label or not.

But they might be better for you the morning after. Parker says his organic whisky has much lower levels of methanol in it, also known as the 'Mr Nasty' of alcoholic drinks.

Methanol occurs naturally in the distillation process, and is the culprit which causes hangovers. It's thought that the body metabolises methanol into formaldehyde and formic acid which have been linked to the classic symptoms of a hangover, so if you want to avoid a sore head the next day, and who doesn't, make your measure an organic one.

It was only a matter of time before whisky joined the organic train. Soft and sweet with light notes of pine and light fruit, green melon, vanilla and (in time) allspice and fresh oak - gentle. On the palate that allspice kicks in again: very spicy, creamy and tingling with good feel. Flavours carry well on from the nose. Soft. the finish is clean and refreshing. A well put together blend - worth a look.



Size: 70 CL
Alcohol: 40%Vol.

This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 18 May, 2008.
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