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KWM 2022 Whisky Calendar Day 21: Isle of Raasay Single Malt

Posted on December 21, 2022

BONUS CONTENT: Read Andrew's post on another curious Blended KWM Cask - this time from Elements of Islay!

by Evan

Welcome to Day Twenty-One of our 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar. We are getting so close to the end that a retrospective is almost needed. Ahh, nostalgia. Remember way back on Day One, when the Whisky Calendar was all pristine and all those doors were just begging to be opened? Look at the sad state of the box now! There the calendar sits, almost entirely gutted of all its treasures. It has shed a lot of weight over the past three weeks. I personally think I have gained about the same amount it has lost in the same amount of time. Time may fly, but gravity is keeping me grounded by hitting my body harder now than it ever has before!

Before falling in love with the sound of my own prose and going off on that tangent, I was trying to arrive at a point. Not sure what it was now.

Oh, yes! The bottles we have gone through so far. So, if you have been through a KWM Whisky Calendar in years past, you will probably see some similarities and patterns between them. I touched on this yesterday in talking about some of the distilleries and brands that have popped up repeatedly over time. Many of those distilleries made an appearance this year as well. However, we have also had quite a few new bottles from new distilleries featured in the box this time around. Today’s whisky joins the list of Lindores Abbey, Kingsbarns, Milk & Honey, Paul John and Dubh Glas. In the spirit of those bottles: Day 21 marks the first time we have had a mini bottle from the young Isle of Raasay Distillery in the calendar!

The Isle of Raasay Distillery Company was founded in 2014 but production did not start until 2017. It is located on (get this…) the Isle of Raasay itself. It is the first legal distillery to operate on the island, which lies Northwest of the Scottish mainland. The Isle is wedged between the mainland and the Isle of Skye, which nearly surrounds it, sheltering it from the Atlantic Ocean. Its nearest distillery neighbour’s are Talisker and the also new Torebhaig, which reside on Skye itself.

R&B Distillers, the ambitious company behind Raasay, already has plans to build a second distillery near Campbeltown with the hopes of starting production there in 2025.

Like many newer distilleries, Raasay’s first product out of the gates was a gin. The Isle of Raasay Gin is created using 10 botanicals including juniper grown on Raasay itself, orange peel, lemon peel, rhubarb root, angelica root, coriander seed, liquorice root, orris root, and cubeb pepper. Some of these gingredients are steeped directly in the spirit still and the rest are infused using a copper gin basket.

We aren’t here to try the gin today though. Let’s see what the Isle of Raasay Single Malt Scotch is all about!

Currently, Raasay produces about half-peated and half-unpeated whisky annually, with the peated malt being around 50 PPM. Some of the barley used is grown on Raasay itself and includes some rare and little-used strains. The distillery does all maturation and bottling on the island as well. Warehouse and aging-wise, Raasay has been experimenting with some different casks including ex-Rye whiskey barrels and also casks made from Chinkapin oak, to name a few. The distillery also has a rather unique take on using these casks and others to create batches for their Single Malt for releases to date:

“As part of our unique six-part maturation, we run peated and unpeated spirit at different times of the year and mature these two spirit types separately in three distinct varieties of oak casks – ex-Rye Whiskey, virgin Chinkapin oak, and ex-Bordeaux red wine.

Once we have selected casks ready for bottling, we vat the six recipe casks together (in varying proportions) to develop the complexity, depth and elegance we are looking to achieve. It is then bottled as our signature lightly peated Isle of Raasay Single Malt (coming out in May 2021). 

This six cask maturation policy provides us with six different styles of whisky from our single distillery, and when vatted together in the correct proportions, gives the elegance, complexity and depth of a much older whisky.”

For more on Raasay’s cask selection and how they put their releases together, check out their website here.

Isle of Raasay Single Malt

Also available in full-size bottles.

Produced from 100% Scottish concerto barley, peated to 48-52ppm and matured in a mix of First fill ex-Rye Whiskey, virgin Chinkapin oak, and first-fill Bordeaux red wine. Bottled at 46.4%. The whisky is matured and bottled on the Isle of Raasay without chill filtering or added colouring.

More information on Isle Of Raasay’s single malt releases can be found here!

Evan’s Tasting Note (Mini Bottle – L00827)

Nose: Brine and lemon infused olive oil, newly bailed hay, raspberry jam, cherry cordial, ozone-driven coastal and peat notes, orange marmalade and milk chocolate covered almonds.

Palate: Salty, sweet, and malty with fresh parsley, honey lozenges, light oak spices, candied ginger, saltwater taffy, peanut brittle, and cranberry sauce.

Finish: Fruity, sweet, and salty.

Comment: This is a solid coastal dram from a very promising young distillery. The peat is there as a companion to the malt and is not used to cover up rough edges. There is some deft blending at play here.

Andrew's Tasting Note (From Batch R-01)

Nose: green, grassy and malty; salty and subtly smoky with pickle juice and olive brine; spicy and citrussy with langoustines and kelp drying on the beach.

Palate: thick, malty and creamy with building toasted oak, honey, and spices; soft ashy peat with loads more salty tones: olives, langoustines, and beach bonfires; still a touch grassy with leather and dried fruits creeping in; citrus and a bit more pickle juice.

Finish: shortish with juicy malt, toasted oak, gentle peat, and spices; a touch of leather along with seafood-y notes and Mezcal.

Comment: a promising start and sign of things to come to this malt grows on you with every sip; the unique packaging is pretty cool too.

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This entry was posted in Whisky, Whisky Calendars, KWM Whisky Calendar 2022



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