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Wild Water for Whisky

Wild Water for Whisky is the tag line for the recently launched Larkfire, and the description is absolutely spot on.

This fantastic water is sourced from one of the wildest and wettest places in Britain, the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

Adding a little water to whisky to bring out the complex flavours and reduce the heat of the alcohol is nothing new. However, the last thing you want to do is spoil your dram by adding water that actually interfered with or changed the flavour. The chemicals in tap water and the minerals in mineral or spring water, react with the compounds in whisky and alter its taste.

Larkfire is different, the unique geology on the Isle of Lewis gives water that is pure, super soft and ultra-low in mineral content. It is the best water for whisky thanks to the 3billion year old Lewisian Gneiss rock which is metamorphic and insoluble. The water simply doesn’t penetrate the rock nor does it take on any minerals that might spoil the taste of the whisky you add it to.

However you drink your whisky is of course up to you, but adding a splash of wild water will certainly help you get the most from every drop of every dram.

We caught up with James McIntosh, founder of Larkfire to find out a bit more about the business and its roots in the Outer Hebrides.

A percentage of the sales from all Larkfire water will flow back into the islands via an agreement with The Stornoway Trust which looks after 69,000 acres of land on the Isle of Lewis from where the water is sourced.

We want everyone to gain from Larkfire – we think about a ‘win win’ in all our relationships and we view the community as one of our most important partners.  We originally looked at another source owned by a third party and were thinking about how we could give back to the community as part of this.  However, the opportunity to partner directly with the Trust and benefit the community through a sales agreement with a minimum commitment was much more attractive.

Joanna Peteranna of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise has also welcomed our commitment to the local community and Hebridean produce and said

‘We welcome this new business development which brings an exciting product to the Hebridean food and drink portfolio.  The Outer Hebrides are increasingly recognised for high quality food and drink products with strong links to our natural landscape and Atlantic larder.  We hope that Larkfire will bring Hebridean produce to a new audience and look forward to seeing the business grow and create employment on the Isle of Lewis.’

Over and above geology what that captivated/inspired you re: the Scottish islands/Lewis. Was it for example, close knit communities, people working with the land, the ancient geology etc.

We have a love for the Scottish islands: the people, the history and the landscape. For one of us, his family comes from one of the islands, he spends as much time there as he can and regards it as his spiritual home.

There is so much that captivates and inspires us.  The wildness of the landscape, the stark beauty, the sea always so close, the ever-changing seasons, the drama of light and darkness, the folklore, the music and a sense of community and belonging that seems to be in decline in this modern world of ours.

It is some of these qualities that we have tried to capture in Larkfire.  The Lark is evocative of a spiritual awakening, certainly something we feel when on the islands and fire gives that sense of community, of gathering around a fire to share stories, joys, sorrows, laughter and music.

Co-founder James McIntosh said: “Having spent a lot of time in Scotland and its islands, we saw time and again how locals would drink wild water straight from the ground, then back in Edinburgh and London we’re watching people adding tap water to an expensive scotch.

“We wanted Larkfire to be as close to the perfect water for whisky we could find in the UK and we think we’ve got that.

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