A Family Jaunt to Badachro
A recent family holiday found us staying at Port Henderson, a remote area on a dead-end road about 2 miles from the hamlet of Badachro. With views looking across to Harris, North Uist and the very North of Skye it is a very idyllic location.
It was also a short walk along the road to the Badachro Distillery. A walk made even more enjoyable with views over to the gigantic Torridon mountains, reaching up to the sky in spectacular forms. You also walk alongside Loch Bad na H-Achlaise (pronounced “Bad nahashlich). Lovely small stretch of water with a good amount of hard fighting Brown Trout that my Brother-in- law and I, enjoyed a day boat fishing on, during our break.
Gordon and Vanessa Quinn, met in the Badachro Inn and got married a year later. After travelling abroad with work, they came back to Badachro to set up and run a Bed and Breakfast. It was during this time that they decided they would like to make Gin (Gordon would love to build a Whisky distillery on neighbouring land too, but red tape issues have made this problematic to date).
While Gordon was completing qualifications on distilling Vanessa was using her own knowledge and study of Horticulture and botanicals to gather what was available around the area to flavour the Gin. Some examples of the local botanicals used in the gin are juniper, wild myrtle, coriander, gorse blossom, lavender, rose-hip petals, and elderflower.
The first Gin was released in 2017 and they have gone on to produce Coastal, Storm Strength, Orange and Raspberry varieties. Along with a “Dancing Puffin” vodka, Gordon also matures lightly peated whisky, obtained from a Highland Distillery.
They have a small dunnage warehouse on site and to date have matured the whisky (which is named “Bad na H-Achlaise” after the nearby loch)in Tuscan red wine casks, ruby port and madeira casks.
Gordon describes the Madeira finish as “like having a dram with an old friend”. Certainly, the sweet fruity flavours of fig and orange on the nose mixed with the light peat smoke, reminds one of wild camping. Followed on by the sweet, slightly nutty taste with barbecued fruits evokes a sense of well-being, or “hyugge” (hyoo-guh) as the Danish might say.
I met both Gordon and Vanessa when I wandered along to the distillery with my dog one morning. Gordon’s enthusiasm for the spirits was clear, along with his desire to expand the business with a whisky distillery. It was insightful to hear the difficulties that are put in place for anyone looking to expand and build business, but if these are able to be overcome, I can think of very few more scenic spots for a whisky distillery in Scotland.
I returned later in the day with family to sample some of the products available from the small on-site shop. Guided by Fiona who has worked at the distillery for a few years now having fallen in love with the area during holidays and moved over from Aberdeenshire.
We were then able to see inside the still house where the Gin and Vodka is made.
All in all quite a wonderful experience to see and hear how these small artisanal, family run distilleries operate.
We swayed our way back to our holiday rental, with our bags loaded up with bottles of tasty goodness, stopping to take a wee nip of whisky on the banks of the Loch that holds its name. Really quite remarkable…
Russell Brinklow September 2022
Bad Na H Achlaise Ex-Bourbon matured and Madeira Cask Finish. This is a beautifully balanced single malt Scotch whisky which skillfully blends the purity of a lightly peated Highland whisky with the complexity and sweetness of fruity, first-fill Madeira casks.
Nose: Dried fruits with BBQ sauce. Figs and raisins, notes of orange peel and very ripe fruits. The light peat evokes memories of wild camping by the sea, perhaps the morning after a bonfire with subtle ash lingering with salt.
Palate:. Full and sweet. It’s juicy and mouth filling. More subtly, there are hazelnuts layered with golden syrup. Lots of light, peaty sweetness comes through in the form of salted caramel and freshly toasted creme brûlée. Perhaps some cooked apples come through with a dry, crisp note.
Finish: Spiced candies and big nutty notes. It is long with lingering barbecued tropical fruits and fresh sea salt.
Bad Na H-Achlaise Port Cask Finish is a stunning non-peated dram. Finished in Badachro, in individually nosed and selected ruby port casks. The Port Casks were selected by Gordon, along with Mike Fraser, Brand Ambassador.
Nose: Initially sweet with jam on toast before a more complex note of blackberries, vanilla and fresh sawn oak appear through time. Light coastal savoury notes come through with robust malt.
Palate: A very complex and evolving dram. Black and glazed red cherries, a hint of high cocoa chocolate bitterness with salt and strawberry sherbets. Bittersweet raspberries and a malted body give a jammy dodger moreish texture, instantly inviting another sip.
Finish: It’s a lively, active finish, continuing the complexity with dried fig and lasting stewed red fruit and berries.