Origin: Isle of Raasay (Scozia)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon first fill and ex-Red Wine
Added coloring: No
Owner: R&B Distillers
Average price: € 150.00
Official website: raasaydistillery.com
Very close to that of Skye, just a few miles to the north-east, the Isle of Raasay has never had a (legal) distillery on its territory until the Isle of Raasay Distillery was established in 2014,
Founded at the behest of Alasdair Day and Bill Dobbie, R&B Distillers began operations in 2017, as soon as the relevant permits were received, also producing gin as is often the case with new distilleries, so as to buffer the huge start-up costs.
Their whisky, the result of long fermentation, is produced in both peated and unpeated versions, also taking advantage of the island’s highly mineralised water, and prior to this inaugural 2020 edition (exactly three years and one day old), they have made a few as-yet-undeclared whisky bottlings, While We Wait, which have met with some success.
Future editions are planned to be made with barley and peat from the island, while for now the peat comes from the Highlands.
This inaugural release, at the minimum ageing required, is a preview of what will be the base version of their portfolio, due in May 2021, with ageing divided into six levels and with three different barrel types.
Here, however, we find ourselves with double ageing, in first-fill ex-Bourbon (from Tennessee) and finished in ex-Bordeaux red wine casks.
Rosé in the glass.
The nose immediately reveals a light, strongly mineral, iodized smoke, a distant bonfire that tickles the nostrils as we stand on the shore of a rough sea. The wine also contributes with black cherry under spirits, pink grapefruit, lemon cream, the acidic notes compete with the peated ones to grow over time, tending to overpower every other aroma.
Peppery on the palate, with the alcohol content roaring with a certain boldness, it explodes with citrus tones (orange. mandarin) accompanied by pineapple, red apple, lemon, wild strawberry and vanilla. It’s less mineral than on the nose but very saline, with smoke that becomes present towards the end of the sip, with a good overall creamy patina.
The finish is quite long, salty and mineral, of ash, citrus, vanilla, ginger.
The proudly island spirit is expressed in the very clear iodine notes, disturbed on the nose by the somewhat invasive contribution of the wine, which, however, finds its balance on the palate, mellow and fruity with a substantial and anything but marginal contribution of peat. This is a very interesting debut, which can only find further confirmation with greater maturity.