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Whisky Whispers

Tasting Raasay Distillery New Make Spirit

As of September distilling has started at our Isle of Raasay distillery. This is where the fun (and hard work) really begins. Firstly the distilling team with the help of Alasdair, had to get to grips with the new equipment to produce our first spirit runs. We are very happy to say we hit the ground running, and we now have our first new make spirit.

Our first runs have been 45 peat parts per million (heavily peated), Baird’s malted, Concerto barley from the Inverness area. This was fermented for 110 hours using our temperature controlled fermenters.

We wanted a good smoky note that is relatively clean, balanced with fruit from the long fermentation. This is one of the key styles to be crafted at the Isle of Raasay Distillery. To begin with, the distillery will produce heavily peated whisky for 10 to 16 weeks per year. This will be blended with our unpeated spirit, which will create a single malt with approximately the same light peating levels as our Raasay While We Wait.

casks and stills

Cask Ageing

This spirit will be aged in ex-Bourbon casks initially. To get your hands on the first bottles from the first 100 casks visit our Na Tusairean Club membership page.

We plan to experiment with different yeast strains, and different casks from the beginning of 2018, so watch this space!

There’s already been quite a bit of interest in how we are storing our casks at Raasay. For the first 4-5 years they’ll be stored on pallets upright. Following this, for longer maturation, we plan to rack them on their sides.

And now to taste our new make spirit…

 

New Make Spirit

Isle of Raasay Single Malt New Make Spirit – Tasting Notes

Nose: Grassy at first, nice peaty notes, then a full hit of honey, hints of the aromas of the washbacks during fermentation, lots of berries. On 2nd smell, a sort of smoky popcorn.

Palate: Lots of berries, and a touch of rye bread and charred barley. Smoky caramel notes, and a high quality milk chocolate note.

With water: More orange, lemon and a sharper smoky note come through.

Overall: A wonderfully complex new make spirit. I think the peat and fruit, with caramel and chocolate notes will age very well.

 

We’re considering whether or not we might release our new make spirit as a for-sale product depending on demand, let us know in the comments if you’d like to see this on the shelves!

 

  • Eric Tittley

    If you want to develop grass-root support (and buyers!) then make the new make (and 1st and 2nd year) available for purchase. Not large volumes. 20cl samples bottles. And keep the costs reasonable.

    There’s a certain affection and bond that develops between consumer and purchaser if the purchaser experiences aspects of the birth, development, and coming-of-age. That loyalty can prove useful as a
    guaranteed market.

    On the other hand, if you plan to sell in volume to large resellers, then hold your stock back until it demands a premium.