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Whisky Whispers

Raasay Distillery Build – July Update

Our Isle of Raasay Distillery build at the site of Borodale House has surged with activity since we secured grant funding and broke ground last month.

The distillery is designed by Raasay resident Olli Blair of ABIR Architects with process design by Allen Associates and overseen by our lead contractors Colorado Group. The whole on-site team have begun work at pace to begin construction on the project, planned for completion in Spring 2017.

The roof maintenance scaffolding set up to install bat protection has been removed and the site cleared for demolition of the extension to Borodale House, which is almost complete and will be replaced with the distillery production unit. The Victorian house itself will be restored and renovated to serve as the distillery visitors’ centre and Na Tùsairean Club membership rooms.

Isle of Raasay Distillery build project July 2016

Island Community

In its former life the extension served as guest bedrooms of Borodale House Hotel and the temporary Raasay House and so still was still stocked with linen supplies. During the site clearing this was donated to the local charity shop on the island.

Even before we were able to start the project-proper, pre-planning surveys required us to fell a number of trees on the site due either to decay or placement, with the requirement that we replant for each, which we will happily honour in the first planting season of the distillery opening.

Felled timber was gifted to the Community Woodfell group and we plan to replant using native tree species of Raasay and those linked in some way to the production of whisky and spirits such as gin. These will include juniper, hazel, birch and beech.

Tthe main focus now involves groundworks to create a back yard to what will be the distillery production hall, levelled area for bonded warehousing, and upgrading of a top access road.

A new upgraded culvert has been laid under the road to allow the burn to flow freely with a mammal passage laid alongside for animals such as the occasionally visiting Olli the Otter, whom we discovered on environmental survey.  As our own Olli (Blair) said “if they don’t want to get their feet wet” of course!

Visitors to the Raasay Distillery Build

Olli (the Architect not the otter) also met this week with SNP MP Ian Blackford and showed him around the progress of the site.

Raasay Distillery architect Olli Blair and SNP MP Ian Blackford on the site of the new Isle of Raasay Distillery set to open in 2017

Architect Olli Blair and SNP MP Ian Blackford on site.

We recently welcomed Scottish Heritage magazine and John MacLeod, Clan Chief of the MacLeod’s of Raasay now living in Australia and spoke with a film crew from BBC Alba who aired a documentary piece about the distillery on July 14th – you can watch this again here: