Raasay

The Isle of Raasay Distillery is the first legal distillery on Raasay, an island in the Inner Hebrides. It was opened in September 2017.

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Information about the Distillery
35 Bottles
Scotland, Islands
-6.073697 57.351907
Active
1 x 5,000 l
1 x 3,600 l
2017
Bill Dobbie, Alasdair Day
94,000 l
www.raasaydistillery.com
Average tasting notes Tasting notes
i
Nosing
Fruit:
Peat Smoke:
Sweet:
Peat Smoke:
Sweet:
Fruit:
Spices:
Zitrus:
Cherry:
Maritime Notes:
Caramel:
Herbs:
Seaweed:
Zitrus:
Cherry:
Nuts:
Malt:
Caramel:
Spices:
Oak:
Vanilla:
Seaweed:
Maritime Notes:
Pepper:
Herbs:
Heather:
Sherry:
Oak:
Berries:
Bonfire Smoke:
Lemon:
Peach:
Blackberry:
Malt:
Pepper:
Grape:
Pear:
Vanilla:
Heather:
Ginger:
Grapefruit:
Chocolate:
Chocolate:
Lemon:
Almonds:
Peach:
Floral:
Hazelnut:
Wheat:
Bonfire Smoke:
Melon:
Green Apple:
Hazelnut:
Ginger:
Almonds:
Grapefruit:
Green Apple:
Salt:
Apple:
Oil:
Floral:
Ham:
Apple:
Dried Fruit:
Tropical Fruit:
Rye:
Black Currant:
Berries:
Sherry:
Blackberry:
Black Currant:
Oil:
Dark Chocolate:
Ham:
Herb:
Walnut:
Nutmeg:
Medicinal Smoke:
Honey:
Salt:
Mint:
Rye:
Grass:
Honey:
Orange:
Mint:
Raisin:
Tropical Fruit:
Pear:
Barley:
Chili:
Alcohol:
Grape:
Orange:
Walnut:
Medicinal Smoke:
Strawberry:
Lime:
Iodine:
Wheat:
Barley:
Nuts:
Tasting
Sweet:
Peat Smoke:
Spices:
Fruit:
Sweet:
Maritime Notes:
Herbs:
Pepper:
Peat Smoke:
Caramel:
Heather:
Zitrus:
Malt:
Herbs:
Spices:
Salt:
Cinnamon:
Maritime Notes:
Pepper:
Oak:
Fruit:
Vanilla:
Seaweed:
Orange:
Cherry:
Heather:
Sherry:
Honey:
Oak:
Caramel:
Nuts:
Zitrus:
Salt:
Malt:
Cinnamon:
Orange:
Berries:
Ginger:
Herb:
Seaweed:
Chocolate:
Alcohol:
Honey:
Bonfire Smoke:
Nutmeg:
Iodine:
Cherry:
Wheat:
Vanilla:
Black Currant:
Red Currant:
Plum:
Clove:
Ginger:
Herb:
Alcohol:
Chili:
Peach:
Berries:
Green Apple:
Chili:
Green Apple:
Wheat:
Black Currant:
Bonfire Smoke:
Red Currant:
Dark Chocolate:
Plum:
Oil:
Medicinal Smoke:
Cake:
Oil:
Pear:
Sherry:
Blackberry:
Cake:
Apple:
Rye:
Kiwi:
Chocolate:
Medicinal Smoke:
Pear:
Nuts:
Date:
Floral:
Almonds:
Grape:
Coffee:
Dried Fruit:
Lime:
Kiwi:
Grape:
Tropical Fruit:
Hay:
Barley:
Raisin:
Floral:
Almonds:
Apple:
Dark Chocolate:
Barley:
Coffee:
Iodine:
Blackberry:
Lime:
Date:
Nutmeg:
Tropical Fruit:
Grapefruit:
Grapefruit:
Rye:
Finish
Peat Smoke:
Oak:
Spices:
Maritime Notes:
Fruit:
Peat Smoke:
Oak:
Malt:
Seaweed:
Herbs:
Maritime Notes:
Sweet:
Heather:
Salt:
Sweet:
Seaweed:
Fruit:
Spices:
Herbs:
Heather:
Sherry:
Pepper:
Wheat:
Salt:
Malt:
Pepper:
Red Currant:
Wheat:
Bonfire Smoke:
Herb:
Bonfire Smoke:
Nuts:
Red Currant:
Chili:
Honey:
Herb:
Chili:
Floral:
Chocolate:
Barley:
Alcohol:
Tobacco:
Ginger:
Honey:
Tobacco:
Barley:
Ginger:
Date:
Nutmeg:
Clove:
Cinnamon:
Zitrus:
Dried Fruit:
Chocolate:
Pineapple:
Pineapple:
Orange:
Grape:
Medicinal Smoke:
Alcohol:
Cinnamon:
Zitrus:
Clove:
Almonds:
Nuts:
Dried Fruit:
Sherry:
Medicinal Smoke:
Floral:
Nutmeg:
Almonds:
Oil:
Date:
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

In collaboration with small local farmers, the distillery grows its own barley in the area. Local peat is used to dry the barley. Raasay is looking to expand this type of collaboration to produce a 100 percent regional Isle of Raasay Single Malt.

Prior to the first official Whisky bottling, the distillery launched the 'Raasay While We Wait Single Malt'. This was created by blending two Whiskies - one smoky and one non-peated - which then received its finish in Tuscan French oak wine casks.

The launch of the first Whisky took place in November 2020, when the distillery presented its Isle of Raasay Single Malt Inaugural Release to the public, which sold out shortly after its release.

The Gin

In addition to Raasay Single Malt, the distillery also produces Isle of Raasay Gin, which contains ten carefully selected botanicals, such as juniper from the island of Raasay, rhubarb root, lemon peel and sweet orange peel. The Gin is triple distilled, making it lighter than the typical new-make spirit with a concentrated note of blackcurrant. The resulting Gin tastes dry, spicy and refreshingly smooth. It is bottled at 46%.

Resident botanist Dr. Stephen Bungard takes care to handpick only the best juniper from Raasay. To create a good balance of flavours, stronger botanicals like juniper are steeped and distilled directly in the copper malt spirit still. The lighter botanicals such as orange peel and coriander are filled separately into a copper aroma basket and evaporated. The various aromas of the botanicals are released by the rising alcohol vapour from the still, which is passed on via pipe systems.

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The Production

The water Raasay uses for their Whisky has been filtered through the volcanic and sedimentary rocks of Dùn Caan and has a high mineral content. This results in a fruitier spirit which is lightly peated with a peat level of 15ppm. A mixture of fresh American white oak barrels, Bourbon barrels, French oak casks and Tuscan wine casks is used.

Raasay sees itself as an experimental distillery, aiming to produce heavier and more smoky Whiskies alongside light and fruity ones.

The Stills

Raasay uses two copper pot stills made in Italy, with the wash still having a capacity of 5,000 litres and the spirit still comprising 3,600 litres.

In the neck of the wash still there is a water mantle for cooling. Connected to this is a reflux pipe that can be closed or opened via a valve. This valve is opened for peated Whisky for more reflux and kept closed for unpeated Whisky. Everything is then transferred into the spirit still, which also has a watch glass.

The distillery also has a rectifier, which can be switched on optionally and in which fractional distillation can be carried out.

The Fermentation Process

The fermentation time at Raasay is an extremely long 72 to 120 hours, during which additional flavours are developed.

The distillery uses both unpeated and peated malt at 50 ppm. The mash tun is filled with one ton of barley meal. After three passes with water, 5,000 litres of mash go into each of the six washbacks. Slightly higher temperatures than usual are used to obtain stronger flavours and the character of dark fruits.

The distillery uses two different types of yeast for fermentation: Distillers Yeast and Champagne Yeast. Since the latter kills all other types of yeast, the champagne yeast is only used in the second step.

The Warehouses

The Whisky is stored at Raasay in its own warehouses - a palletised warehouse and a dunnage warehouse - behind the distillery to take advantage of the island's geological and climatic influence.

The peated and unpeated Raasay Spirit are matured separately in casks made of Ex-Rye Whiskey, fresh Chinkapin oak and first-fill Bourdeaux Red Wine and then blended together. For special editions, however, Manzanilla casks are also used, for example.

The History

The tax laws of 1788 prohibited stills under one hundred gallons in capacity. In 1823, an amendment to the law added a tax on distillation. Therefore, illegal Whisky distilling had a great tradition on the island.

In 2014, Bill Dobbie and Alasdair Day founded R&B Distillers (Raasay & Borders), with the goal of establishing a distillery in Scotland. In 2017, they opened the first legal distillery on the island of Raasay.

The Visitor Centre

Raasay has a visitor centre and offers tours of the distillery. Since you can only get to the island by ferry, the times for the tours are coordinated with the ferry schedules. A tour lasts about an hour and finishes with a dram or a Gin. Advance registration via the website is recommended.

Visitor information

Distillery Address:

Isle of Raasay Distillery
Borodale House
Isle of Raasay
Kyle
IV40 8PB
Tel: +44 (0)1478-470178
Email: info@remove-this.raasaydistillery.com 

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