Review – Isle of Raasay, Single Malt, Na Sia
Ilse of Raasay Distillery
The first ‘legal’ distillery on the Hebridean Isle of Raasay, the distillery has a 100% Raasay philosophy; using Raasay water and barley, whilst completing the distillation and maturation processes on site. Following our virtual tasting sessions with them in April, we entered their May 2021 ballot, and were lucky enough to win a spot on the release event. These are our thoughts …
In order to achieve their ‘lightly peated, rich dark fruits’ palate the Isle of Raasay distillery uses a mixture of six casks. Half of these casks are peated (quite heavily!) and the other half are unpeated. The team at Raasay say that this is is the six-cask combination in Scotch whisky history, utilising: first-fill ex-Rye Whiskey, virgin chinkapin oak, and first-fill ex-bordeaux red wine casks.
This particular release is at 46.4% ABV, and is non-chill filtered, and all natural colour.
First Impressions and Reflections
Hosted by Callum, Alastair, and Dave attendees at the launch event were informed that this whisky is so fresh that they are still in the process of bottling it!
A brilliant amber colour, the whisky has a great viscosity in the glass – really coating the edges; it looks thick, oily, and inviting. There is also no denying the beauty of the packaging and the bottle. We love the textured glass, and the white box makes it feel fresh, youthful, and modern – a great reflection of the distillery itself.
Nose: berry jam on toast next to a fire pit on a snowy morning, jam stirred into milky porridge, fresh red fruits – berries, blackcurrants, plums
Palate: dark fruits, black pepper, very light peat, pleasantly sweet but not overpoweringly so, black cherry jam and brown sugar, some notes of dark honey
Finish: very light peat tingles in your tongue, you can ‘chew’ your mouth for quite some time and the flavours continue to mingle
Nose: slightly briney, dark fruits, vanilla, green apples, hints of lemon and lime zest
Palate: clean and fresh, lots of fresh summer berry fruits mixed with autumn fruits, pepper spice and cut grass
Finish: oaky spice, cherry, blackberry, blackcurrant and hints of red wine tannins.
We felt as though we could keep nosing this whisky all evening, the nose is so delicious and inviting. The age belying the depth and complexity of the flavours beneath; a very quaffable dram. A brilliant expression from this distillery, one that gives them a fantastic platform to build upon in the future.
That being said, we would have preferred it at a slightly higher ABV – maybe closer to 49 – 50%. I doubt we would have thought that if we hadn’t tried the individual cask samples, but we we had we just felt some of the wonderful texture had been lost in the final bottling. Nevertheless, we’re very glad we have this on our shelf – we expect it to be a great introductory dram to those who ‘don’t like peated whisky’.
We’d love to know in the comments below if you’ve sampled any very young whisky, and if you have what you thought of them!