Here’s tae ye! - The Makar’s Malt Raasay Single Cask honors Scottish national poet Jackie Kay

The first “Scots Makar” whisky was released on International Women's Day


In 2004, the official title of "Scots Makar", the Scottish poet or bard, was introduced in Scotland. It’s the end of the term of office of the current title holder Jackie Kay now and in honor of her, a Makar’s Malt was released on International Women's Day on March 8, 2021. It is a single cask bottling of the Isle of Raasay Distillery.

The Makar’s Malt is a slightly smoky whisky that was matured in a first-fill Bordeaux red wine cask. It was bottled in a natural color without chill-filtration at 53.2% ABV. 327 bottles are available at a retail price of £ 75 per bottle -or let’s better say „were available“, because very soon after the launch the Raasay Distillery's online shop posted „sold out“.

“The Isle of Raasay Distillery are very proud to be the first distillery chosen to work with The Scots Makar on this historic single cask release - a fruity, lightly peated dram that has been matured in one of our signature first fill Bordeaux red wine casks.” said Alasdair Day, co-founder of the Isle of Raasay Distillery.

Supported by the Scotch Whisky Association

The collaboration between the Scots Makar Jackie Kay and the Isle of Raasay Distillery was arranged by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the SWA said: “We’ve been delighted to work with Jackie on the Makar’s Malt, which is a fabulous celebration of poetry and whisky – both of which are central to Scotland’s identity, and to its past, present and future. In what has been a difficult twelve months for so many people, as well as for distillers, this is good news to enjoy. I hope it will inspire people to visit our Hebridean distilleries, of which the Isle of Raasay distillery is one, when they are able to once the pandemic has eased. They will not be disappointed – by the whisky, poetry nor the views!

It’s also a pleasure to see this first Makar’s Malt released on International Women’s Day - a day on which we are celebrating the progress our industry is making to promote equality, diversity and inclusion, and to remind people everywhere that whisky is for everyone, whether you want to come and work with us or to simply enjoy a dram.”

Here’s tae ye!

Jackie Kay is the third Scots Makar, following Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead, appointed by the Scottish Government. When choosing the cask for the Makar’s Malt, the Raasay Distillery worked together with Jackie Kay to match the taste of the Scots Makar. 10 percent of of each bottle sold will be donated to the Glasgow Women’s Library, whose archive documents the lives of women as far back as the 1930s.

The poem written by the Scots Makar Jackie Kay especially for this occasion is also printed on the label of the Makar’s Malt:

Here’s tae ye!

I raise my glass, my dear,
Wherever you now are,
North, south, east or west
Under the nearest or furthest star
There’s love in this wee dram,
In the purest form
To greet you my fiere, my jo,
Nippy, heathery, warm.
Jackie Kay, 2021

Images: Isle of Raasay Distillery