With our Raasay While We Wait Single Malt now tantalisingly near, currently in Tuscan red wine finishing casks, we’ve been warming up our palates for a taste of the island by exploring other Hebridean whiskies.
Modern-day whisky enthusiasts argue about the traditional classification of drams by region, pointing out that these days, peated malts could be as easily created in any region of Scotland using malted barley peated to pre-specified levels. While this is certainly true, there still exists the simple fact that terroir, water, air, and other elements of the location help define the flavour profile of the whisky and its provenance.
This is certainly our aim with all R&B whiskies; to personify the soft rolling landscapes of the Scottish Borders in our Tweeddale and Borders bottlings, contrasting with rugged volcanic rock on the sea-and-wind-swept island of Raasay that we believe will help craft our whisky’s character.
Classic Hebridean Flavours
The current regional classification includes Islay as a territory in its own right, with all other Hebridean island whiskies being included in the Highland region. Islay is differentiated due to the sheer number of distilleries and the unique salty, peaty malted barley from the Port Ellen maltings on Islay.
These influences expand out to expressions of salinity and smokiness, bold earthiness and seaweed notes, but in varying levels and still allowing the individual distillery characteristics to shine through resulting in no two Islay whiskies being the same.
Whiskies of island provenance share their proximity to the sea, shaped by the prevailing winds that blow in from the Americas across the Atlantic Ocean. Miles of salty ocean spray hits the first land it meets and dissipates as it moves further East. For this reason, the sea air surrounding Arran, Mull, and Raasay differs from that influencing the outer Hebridean islands such as those effecting Abhainn Dearg Distillery on Lewis.
So, while each Hebridean Isle is uncommon to the next, we acknowledge that whiskies made there are defined by varying degrees of the same natural influences, geographical and perhaps even philosophical.
Classic Hebridean Drams – Delving Deeper
Our While We Wait whisky will soon be ready to give you a taste of the wonders Raasay is poised to produce as a newest addition to the Hebridean distilling clan, joining Talisker, Tobermory, and soon Isle of Harris Distillery.
We intend to distil our future Raasay single malts with local water that preserves its natural mineral content; this water flows down over the volcanic rock of Dùn Caan, and is then naturally drawn up through porous Torridon Sandstone. Why? Because we believe that provenance is one of the most important ingredients in any dram.