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First legal distillery on Raasay

First Legal Distillery on Raasay

The excise Acts of 1788 outlawed stills under a hundred gallons and was amended in 1823 to allow only taxed distillation. As a result, people across the region began to hide their distillation from the taxman.

Illicit distilling is recorded on Raasay until circa 1850. According to local resident and historian Rebecca Mackay, there is even “archaeological evidence of a still in a collapsed rock shelter” on the island. More than 150 years later, whisky has finally returned – this time legally – to Raasay.

Our Distilling Philosophy & Process

We chose Raasay because of the exciting prospect it offers. Building from scratch on the site of Borodale House, a disused Victorian building, we had the freedom to create a pioneering island distillery with arguably the best view of any in Scotland.

Working with local crofters, we are growing barley in a nearby field, the first time in over 40 years. We intend to expand such collaboration across Raasay, while using local peat to dry the barley, enabling us to eventually craft a special release of 100% Isle of Raasay single malt.

Raasay water

Raasay water is an integral part of the whisky produced at the island’s first legal distillery. The influence of our unique island water is present at every stage of creation – you will literally taste it in the final whisky.

Although some argue that water lends only a little to the flavour of a whisky, Raasay whisky is very different. At Raasay Distillery we’re confident that our water source – filtered through volcanic and sedimentary rock from Dùn Caan above – will lend much more to our Raasay single malt. Unlike most distillers we use the local water supply at every stage of distillation, including our long fermentation for which the high mineral content is perfectly suited – producing a fruitier spirit, and unusually for cask reduction to ensure the high minerality throughout.

Isle of Raasay Distillery facts

Isle of Raasay Distillery will produce Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

  • Capacity: 94,000 LPA
  • Fermentation Time: 90 hours
  • Spirit Still: 3,600 L
  • Wash Still: 5,000 L
  • Washback Size: 5,000 L
  • Maturation: All maturation on site

Looking to find out more about Isle of Raasay Distillery?
Please email info@raasaydistillery.com with any questions or media enquiries regarding our distillery.

Raasay Whisky Recipes

Our core Raasay expression will be a single malt lightly peated at 15 parts per million phenol (how peat level is measured in whisky), and finished in Tuscan red wine casks, a homage to the Italian origins of our two copper pot stills.

Driven by our passion, expertise and curiosity, Isle of Raasay Distillery is designed to be experimental. We plan to produce light and fruity styles of whisky, as well as heavier and more peaty spirit. Visit us on Raasay to taste the future.

Our Distillery Team

Bill Dobbie, Co-founder
Bill Dobbie


An experienced entrepreneur, Bill has led a number of highly successful private equity funded businesses. He also sits on the boards of several companies. Bill’s taste for business is perhaps matched only by his taste for fine whisky.

Alasdair Day, Co-founder
Alasdair Day


Alasdair’s family heritage lies in whisky; his great-grandfather was an early 19th century blender. His other great grand-father hailed from the Hebrides. In 2014 Alasdair teamed up with Bill to begin the journey to build their own distillery.

Iain Hector Ross, Visitor Experience Manager
Iain Hector Ross

Visitor Experience Manager

Iain Hector has been visiting Raasay every year since the 1990s. As Visitor Experience Manager he’s developed our tours to tell the story of Raasay and its whisky. An accomplished writer, he has just published The Whisky Dictionary.

Chris Anderson, Master Distiller
Chris Anderson

Master Distiller

Chris is overseeing whisky making at Raasay Distillery for the first five months. Chris was master distiller at Dewars and has guided several new distilleries, including Kilchoman, Ardnamurchan, Lakes and most recently Torabhaig on Skye.

Iain Robertson, Distiller
Iain Robertson


Iain is an Honours graduate of the Heriot Watt Brewing and Distilling school in Edinburgh. With experience at North British grain distillery and the Scotch Whisky Experience, Iain is passionate about respectfully pushing the boundaries of whisky.

Norman Gillies, Distillery Manager
Norman Gillies

Distillery Manager

Born and raised on Raasay, Norman has been involved in the distillery from the early days, working as site engineer and construction foreman. With unparalleled local knowledge, Norman is the ideal ambassador for Raasay and the distillery.