The Isle of Raasay is located in the northwest of Scotland, adjacent to the Isle of Skye. It is also from there that the only ferry to Raasay departs; it starts in Sconser and lands in Inverarish about half and hour later. Whereas the island has a long history of illicit distilling, it never harbored an official whisky distillery throughout the centuries. This changed in September 2017, when the Isle of Raasay Distillery went productive. Now, about three and a half years later, the first permanent expression from the new-found unit has launched. It comes in a beautiful decanter and it flys the colors of its Hebridean heritage with pride. Despite its young age, the spirit offers a lot of complexity. I assume that this is at least in part the result of the sophisticated wood formula that the Isle of Raasay team applied here: There’s ex-rye casks that provide a delicate spiciness. There’s virgin oak casks that give the spirit a certain vigor. And there’s ex-red wine casks that throw in differing kinds of fruits. Add to this a fine cloud of smoke and a salt-laden breeze of sea air and you get a very excellent islands malt of fantastic look, appeal and make. The Single Malt – Batch 1 from Isle of Raasay is exactly the kind of dram that – when you let it billow over your tongue with closed eyes – transports you straight to the Scottish seaside, where the waves beat the stones and the wind whips your face while the whisky warms you from inside. Luckily, this grand sensation lasts for a good amount of time. And once it starts to fade, you can easily prolongue it: Just take another sip and dream away again …
Eye: A sandy, beach-y tone of yellow.
Nose: Immensely maritime! With the first sniff, a salty sea breeze enters the nostrils. Soon after, a whiff of fumy, oily smoke unfolds underneath. Bright wood is part of the mix, too. And so are all sorts of cereals and crunchy yellow fruits (peaches, mirabelles) – a very versatile and appetizing bouquet!
Palate:Raasay’s first permanently available whisky starts off light, but gains weight quickly. The longer it remains in the mouth, the thicker and milkier it feels. The offered flavors are zesty, salty, mineral and just a wee bit fruity. Overall, the spirit has a sweetish character, too. Among others, I get apple pouches, quince jelly, amaretto cherries, lemon peel, and salted caramel. Somewhat contrary to these aromas, there are edgy notes of moist harbor walls, autumnal bonfire fumes and cooled-off cigarette ash.
Finish: A well-orchestrated and long-lasting interplay of cocoa powder, oatmeal cookies, plum jelly, black pepper and grilled papaya steaks. The formula of the finish: Sweetness plus spiciness plus smokiness equals awesomeness!
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islands)
Alc. volume: 46.4 per cent
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: 55.00 Euro
More info: https://raasaydistillery.com/ (Distillery) ; https://kirschwhisky.de/ (Importer)
*** I got the bottle for free from Kirsch Import. Thank you ***