Updated: Jan 13, 2019
Always be open-minded for new things. First of all, I am very excited about publishing this post; not only because this is the very first whisky distillery I have ever visited, but also I would be one of the earliest person to write a review on the Isle of Raasay Distillery.
A little background story about this distillery. As quoted from their website, Isle of Raasay Distillery is "[t]he first legal distillery on the Isle of Raasay in northwest Scotland [that] began distilling in September 2017." What that means is that, at the time of the writing, the distillery still has not bottled any of their own whiskies yet since it would take at least 3 years for it to be qualified as a 'Scotch'. I would have to wait until 2020 until I could get to try their very first bottle of whisky.
What I have tried at the distillery was in fact a single-malt whisky called "Raasay While We Wait". Interesting name, I would say. The distillery intended to craft the whisky for the purpose of demonstrating their "whisky making skills and [offering] a tantalising taste of what’s to come from the Isle of Raasay Distillery."
According to the tour guide, this whisky is blended through two kinds of grains; one peated, one unpeated. The whisky is then finished in French oak Tuscan wine casks from three vineyards that produce Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
So with all the talk, how does the whisky actually taste like you may ask. To begin with, a quite fruity note, along with the later smoky scene come through when you inhale. The smoke is very gentle so it is definitely suitable for those of you who prefer something more moderate.
Now the palate is the one that I am not sure about. Supposedly, in addition to the instant peat smoke that I could sense, you would also be able to taste the peppery spice as well. Even the distillers themselves intended only to create a lightly-peated whisky. However, I feel like the peat might be too strong that it covers the spice to some extent. Nonetheless, the peaty finishing is truly enjoyable.
However, what I felt truly special about this distillery is how beautifully designed the building is. For instance, the stone wall in the picture are constructed with stones actually gathered across Isle of Raasay. I remembered the tour guide was saying how the architect of the distillery, Olli Blair, would walk around Raasay with his son, and whenever the son found a stone that he likes, he would ask his dad to bring it back for building the wall.
Have I also mentioned that the distillery is itself a hotel designed by renowned Scottish designer Anne Hunter as well? You could actually stay at the distillery overnight along with a complimentary one-year membership of their Na Tusairean Whisky Club. For the 10 years club especially, you would be able to own bottles from Raasay Distillery’s first 100 casks – 1 bottle plus 2 miniatures per year for 10 years. Sounds fascinating?
It has truly been a great experience visiting Isle of Raasay Distillery. It is always exciting to try something new and unique, especially whiskies. Feel free to comment down below for any questions and thoughts. Click here for my whisky tasting experience at the famous Talisker Distillery.