The Raasay Distillery Borodale House Isle of Raasay History

If you have any interest at all in Scotland and its landscape then this is one place that you have to visit. Raasay might not be the easiest place to get to but it’s well worth the trip. First you have to get yourself to Skye then take a 25 minute ferry ride. Once you get there though you wont be disappointed as it’s truly one of the most beautiful islands in Scotland, and that’s saying some-thing. Raasay (Ratharsair in Gaelic) means Isle of the Roe Deer. 2017 saw the opening of the first “le-gal” distillery with a vision to create the finest Hebridean single malt Scotch whisky and a unique whisky destination with arguably the best view from any distillery in Scotland. The distillery was built by Edinburgh-based firm R&B Distillers who bought the beautiful but derelict Victorian hotel, Boro-dale House, in 2015. They have extended the old hotel with a stunning modern structure which houses the actual production of their single malt. The distillery hopes to bring over 12,000 tourists to the island which will create for the economy considering there is only around 150 people that live here.

The Whisky

The style they want to create at Raasay is a light, fruity and delicately smoky single malt, matured in different casks including first-fill American oak, European oak and Tuscan red wine casks.

Unlike other distilleries, Raasay, isn’t planning on waiting the usual 10 years minimum to release their whisky with the aim to have their first release by 2020.

While some whisky folks will tell you this is too early, I tend to disagree. The casks are crucial to a whisky’s final flavour and aroma and these guys seem to have invested in some exceptional casks meaning the whisky could be more than ready in that timeframe.

Favourite Tipple

Aptly named ‘While We Wait” is whisky that’s available now if you want to have a taste of things to come. There are two bottlings from this range; one peated and one unpeated, with the whisky finished in French oak Tuscan wine casks from three vineyards that produce Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Why Visit?

It is a bit or a trek to get here but it is well worth the short ferry ride if you find yourself in Skye. I would recommend booking ahead as its a long way to come to be told it is full for tours. The tour itself last around an hour and costs £10. They even coordinate the tours here so that are perfectly timed to coincide with the ferry maximising your time arrival on the island.

Interesting Fact

The excise Acts of 1788 outlawed stills under a hundred gallons and was amended in 1823 to allow only taxed distillation. As a result, people across the region began to hide their dis-tillation from the taxman. Illicit distilling is said to have taken place as recently as 1850 on Raasay. According to local resident and historian Rebecca Mackay, there is even “archaeological evidence of a still in a collapsed rock shelter” on the island. More than 150 years later, whisky has finally re-turned – this time legally – to Raasay.