Isle of Raasay Single Malt Batch #1 Release

You’d be forgiven for not knowing an awful lot about the Isle of Raasay. It’s an Inner Hebridean island nestled between mainland Scotland and the Isle of Skye. Around 14 miles long and three miles wide, the population is just over 160 and the only way to reach it is by first making your way to Skye before catching the ferry back across to the smaller island.

When it comes to whisky prowess, Skye distillery Talisker seem have had the place to themselves for a really long time. In 2021 however, they’ve been joined at the party, not only by latecomers Torabhaig, but also by Raasay’s first ever-licensed distillery. The Raasay Distillery began production in 2017, last year they launched their inaugural release and, this year, they took the latest step on their journey by releasing batch #1 of their Isle of Raasay Single Malt.

Their spirits are produced through double copper pot still distillation using barley sourced entirely from the Isle of Raasay. Indeed, every element you’ll find in the bottle was sourced on the island. Part of the distillery’s ethos is to embed themselves within the local community, bringing jobs to the island and supporting local businesses.

Inspiration for the Isle of Raasay Single Malt came from researching traditional Hebridean styles, leading to a signature flavour profile: lightly peated and balanced with rich dark fruit flavours. Raasay produce both peated and unpeated examples using three types of oak barrel. These six whiskies are matured separately before blending and bottling.

The three kinds of barrel used are ex-American rye whiskey, Chinkapin oak and Bordeaux red wine casks. Rye casks bring notes of butterscotch and vanilla, Bordeaux casks add layers of structure and notes of cherry, blackberry and plum. Finally, Chinkapin oak helps colour develop in the whisky while also imparting sweet caramel flavours. A heavy char on this barrel helps the whisky achieve a smoother texture and adds notes of smoky barbecue to the finished product. The final spirit is presented at a pleasing 46.4% abv, the colour is natural and the whisky is non-chill filtered.