Today, Saturday 16th September 2017, goes in the history books as the day whisky makers R&B Distillers officially open the Isle of Raasay Distillery, the first (legal!) whisky distillery on this small Scottish island.
R&B Distillers are bringing this traditional Scottish craft to a previously unchartered whisky region, harnessing the raw elements of the unique terroir to create the first Raasay Scotch, which we will have to wait until 2020 to drink.
Co-founders Alasdair Day and Bill Dobbie are realising a dream to make whisky in this uncommon location.
Raasay is a small island, only fourteen miles in length, situated off the East coast of Skye. The island's 120 residents have watched eagerly as this disused Gothic villa hotel, Borodale House, has been transformed by ABIR architects into the new distillery, adjacent visitors’ centre and Na Tùsairean Club members’ accommodation.
In July 2017 R&B announced the distillery team who will be integral to whisky production: the team is comprised of: Norman Gillies, an island resident; Iain Robertson, a young distilling graduate; and Chris Anderson, a master distiller with decades of whisky prowess.
Iain, with the guidance of Chris, commenced whisky production this week and guests to the opening will be able to witness the first whisky making in action. The distillery will officially open to the public in October and visitors will be taken on a fascinating tours around this unique distillery: they will learn about the unusual geology that influences the flavour of Raasay Scotch; spot the resident bat population in the 'Bat Hotel' and visit the Celtic Well that provides water to the distillery. Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, friends, family, industry figures, press and all the island's residents have been invited to join the founders in a ceilidh at neighbouring Raasay House.
The distillery will be opened by renowned spirits writer and whisky expert, Dave Broom. The much-lauded spirits writer and founder of scotchwhisky.com, will cut the ribbon into the production room of the distillery and join co-founders of R&B Distillers, Alasdair Day and Bill Dobbie, along with friends, family and islanders to celebrate the opening of island’s first distillery.