Wildness in an island drink doesn’t necessarily mean a high alcohol quantity. We spoke with Amanda Saurin from Wild Eve to learn more about this Isle of Harris powerhouse.
There must be something in the water on the Isle of Harris that stimulates the imagination and takes you on a magical mystery tour of discovery.
When award-winning apothecary and herbalist Amanda Saurin moved to the Isle of uncompromising beauty, she did so for the promise of peace. She also aimed to join the select few people before her who have moved to this idyllic Atlantic coastline island to develop their creative selves: some to write about the world, others to paint and capture the essence of the Outer Hebrides and those who can make something that can tame a restless soul. It was within the latter that Wild Eve was born.
The journey for something new, exciting, and innovative was anything but tame. It was Wild Eve: an organic, non-alcholic botanical infusion drink. Created from an exclusive selection of organic flowers, fruits, leaves, and seaweeds – all hand foraged on the historic and rugged land of the Isle of Harris.
There is something romantic about the vision and story of Wild Eve. Perhaps it’s the timeless Art Nouveau design that adorns the bottle and seductively lures you in; or maybe it is the taste of something incredibly unique.
What you’re experiencing is the most extraordinary set of plants at the disposal of Amanda and her team from mountain, machair meadow and sea.
Amanda has used her learning outcomes from years of thinking, testing and coming to understand the best ways of extracting flavour to infuse in a single bottle.
It draws on decades of acquiring plant knowledge, understanding plant medicine and a theory that these plants, like essential oils for perfumery, can be categorised into top, middle and base notes to construct a genuinely unique and customisable taste.
Wild Eve is the true essence of the Isle of Harris. Amanda speaks passionately about what has been a culmination of years of hard work and dedication to create something unlike anything else. “What you taste in Wild Eve is pure plant, which is important not only because it means it is low in sugar, but plants offer the vitality and complexity that commercial extracts cannot.”
She continues: “Virtually all non-alcoholic drinks lack richness – the delicious opulence of alcohol, that full bodied flavour, the layers of taste, the heat and the mouth feel. Alcohol is the most wonderful extractor of flavour and plant complexity. Water extraction results are different, it draws out a different flavour profile to alcohol. That is why the gin/rum/beer/wine look-a-likes struggle to achieve the same taste without using, and then trying to remove, the alcohol. So, choosing plants with good water solubility was also key because I didn’t want to use a single drop of alcohol.”
A Team Well-Versed in the Local Climate
The small local team that creates Wild Eve require time, skill, and a vigilant eye to spy the perfect picking stage – often abandoning their work to rush out on a fine day to collect the harvest. The weather on Harris makes the process particularly challenging: plants are slower to emerge from the colder ground, slower to reach maturity and then much faster to dash to seed.
Besides the challenges, the weather on Harris is enchanting and crucial to the premium finish. The water is amongst the softest in Europe, which allows the flavours of the foraged ingredients to develop without interruption. From wild roses growing on the land and the sugar kelp hand dived in the pristine waters, to the chamomile and oats growing on the croft and the chilli plants that fill the windowsills, each of the botanicals are vital.
Drying the botanicals is a game of cat and mouse – the sudden rain requires quick release pegs to grab seaweeds off the line before dampening and delaying the sugars’ defining moments. Some plants require weeks of careful management to bring out the full flavour profile, some need to be cut small by hand to capture the taste, and others need heat or smoke to reveal themselves.
Wild Eve is a dance with nature, born out of decades of learning and experience, captured in one wonderful drink.
Wild Eve is boutique and created in small, sustainable batches to be purchased directly from the distillers or through carefully selected stores that share their ethos. Interested in purchasing a bottle of Wild Eve? Click here to explore the range further.