Single-Cask Saturdays – Raasay Distillery

Single-Cask Saturdays – Raasay Distillery, Peated Ex-Rye

THE BIG DAY IS FINALLY HERE! We’ve made it all the way through 2021, to Christmas Day! Which is also coincidentally the last day of our December Single-Cask Saturdays’ feature. We wanted to find something particularly special for Christmas Day, and the Raasay Distillery, Peated Ex-Rye 2021 Single Cask release felt perfect.

The Raasay Distillery is one that we have featured a lot this year. Participating in their virtual tasting sessions, the launch of their Na Sia single malt release, and finally reviewing their Distillery Special release in late November. We have truly fallen in love with their lightly peated fruity taste, and felt very excited when we were lucky enough to be a winner in their ballot for Peated Ex-Rye Single Cask.

Ilse of Raasay Distillery

The Isle of Raasay Distillery is the first ‘legal’ distillery on the Hebridean Isle. Opening their doors in 2017, they deploy a 100% Islay philosophy – using Raasay water and barley, whilst completing the distilling and maturation processes on site.

As with many newer and younger Scotch distilleries, they are doing some really interesting things, looking to create a ‘lightly peated, rich dark fruits vibe’ for their whisky. For their main single malt – the Na Sia – this is achieved by combining six different maturations of their spirit. Ex-Bordeaux cask, Ex-Woodford Rye casks, and Chinkapin Oak casks – all with both peated and unpeated spirit.

Over the course of the year, they have released a number of single-cask expressions of these components via ballot. We were lucky enough to be selected for an Ex-Woodford Rye Cask bottle! Their website is packed full with information on the creation of their whisky so we highly recommend grabbing a dram, and taking a browse.

Tasting Notes

Distilled in late 2017, and bottled in the summer of 2021, this whisky has spent just over three years maturing in an ex-Woodford Rye cask. They used peated concerto barley (48PPM), and as with any other Raasay Distillery release this expression is natural colour and non-chill filtered.

Cask Number: 17/96
Bottles Produced: 87 of 228
Cask Type: Ex-Rye Whiskey, Quercus Alba American Oak, 190Litres
Distilled: 14 November 2017

A very pale colour, this whisky looks brilliant in the glass. Texturally coating the glass nicely, with a high oil content; which is fair given the 61.5% ABV!

“These casks develop interesting pepper, spice and butter flavours in our whisky.”

Nose: quite spicey, lots of cracked black pepper, some sweetness in the background, no doubt the peat is also present, faint butterscotch and toffee
Palate: punchy, white pepper, the peat is lighter, with creaminess building, melted butter on brown toast, dark molasses, it tingles on your tongue!
Finish: really warming, top of a creme brulee, caramalised sugar, toffee sauce, charred oak

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Overall a really nice whisky. Let’s be honest we aren’t surprised by this; Raasay is great and having tried a number of their expressions we have a good idea of their base flavour. This would be perfect for a winters walk, the warming heat and punchy ABV will certainly keep you toasty. Despite the high ABV it’s still a dram that you want to go back to, like a hug from a close relative – it’s familiar and you absolutely want more. 100% keep your eyes open for their future ballot launches and special releases!

We both really appreciate that this expression is at cask strength; with the high ABV mellowing out some of the spicy edge. It is so exciting to be able to taste the individual elements of the Raasay Distillery single malt separately – we highly recommend joining in on one of their virtual tastings if you can! Rye whiskey is not something we have experienced much of, but definitely hope to in the future. The spicy, buttery, pepper notes that are imparted from the casks are very interesting!

We’ve really enjoyed writing this series over the last few weeks, and hope we have inspired you to dive into the wonderful world of single-cask whisky!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, The Dram Duo (Mike & Rach) x

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