You’ve probably never heard of it but Raasay is an island off the coast of Skye and will soon have its very own distillery. Here’s what’s to come from this remote upcoming distillery.
There’s plenty of choice out there when it comes to whisky but there’s soon to be another one fighting for your attention on the shelves. R&B Distillers is in the process of building the first ever distillery on the isle of Raasay (below is an idea of what it will look like). Following this, it’s also looking to build one in Peebles, which was voted the place people wanted to get back on the whisky map.
It’s not that nothing has been made there, but until now it’s all been illegal still. I’m told that in the past, neighbours on Skye would even hang out white washing to warn of an approaching tax man – which could be a bit tricky if you just happen to be doing a white wash.
Of course with any new distillery, the whisky isn’t going to be ready to drink for some time, which is why the firm has created ‘While We Wait’, a blended single malt scotch. The idea is that it’s a taste of what’s to come from R&B’s own product which will be bottled starting in 2020.
While We Wait is a blend of two single malt whiskies from an undisclosed distillery. One is un-peated and one is peated so a ratio of 50:50 means a lightly peated character.
To get a sense of what R&B’s whisky will be like, I went along to Black Rock, an awesome little bar which sits underneath a fish & chip shop (handy if you’re hungry when you leave) to get a dram or two. It’s worth checking out even just for its long tables which house two different spirits underneath glass panels.
A ‘boiler maker’ was first on the menu to get things going which I’ve never had despite drinking beer and whisky more often than any other alcoholic drinks. While We Wait tasted great neat alongside a nice cold bottle of Point IPA. The whisky itself is both smooth and subtly smoky, which gives it a nice character.
Next up was a twist on the classic cocktail, Rob Roy, expertly made by the chaps at Black Rock. Made with 50ml of the whisky, 20ml of Cocchi di Torino or other sweet vermouth, 2.5ml Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar and two dashes of Peychauds bitters. Served over ice with a whisky pickled cherry was my kind of cocktail.
Last was simply Whisky & Water but not as you or I know it. Made with water which had been infused with peat and green peppercorns, combined with carbonated whisky and served over ice they created a version of a popular long drink served in Japan.
This one wasn’t to my taste but the specially made peated bread and peat infused butter served on the night certainly was.
If you’re interested (and confident the final product will be to your taste) you can sign up for R&B’s Na Tùsairean Whisky Club – that pronounced ‘Na Too-Serran’ and means ‘The Pioneers’ in Gaelic.
For the cool price of £999 for 10 years (or £55 a month) you’ll get a bottle of While We Wait until the Raasay product is bottled then Isle of Raasay single malt from the first 100 casks, bottled annually from 3-10 years old. With each full bottle, you’ll get two miniatures, too, plus exclusive offers, invites and discounts.
Membership also includes one night’s stay on the island per year so you can see where the whisky is made. You’ll stay at the restored Victorian Borodale House adjoining the distillery.
If you’re not feeling that flush then you can pick up a bottle of While We Wait online priced at £56 for a full size 70cl bottle, although smaller ones are available. Also check out a list of stockists here.