Whisky and hospitality go together on Raasay, which explains why Borodale House sits at the very heart of our distillery.
This beautiful 19th century Victorian-era villa is one of the key ‘built heritage’ landmarks on the island, named after the nearby Iron Age hill fort Dùn Borghadal dating from around 800 BC. The house was built in 1877, just 33 years after John Macleod, the last of the ancient line of clan chiefs, sold Raasay for 35,000 guineas (£700,000 in today’s currency) and emigrated to Tasmania. Its architect was the celebrated Alexander Ross whose masterpiece is St Andrew’s Cathedral in Inverness – and some famous old Highland distilleries!
In its 140 years, Borodale House has been a private dwelling house, the island’s post office, the first house on the island to switch on mains electricity, a hotel (pictured below), and now home to the Isle of Raasay Distillery luxury accommodation visitor centre.
Borodale House Operating as the Isle of Raasay Hotel Circa 2000 – Photo Credit: Martyn Jenkins
Luxury Raasay Accommodation
We asked our architect Olli Blair to restore Borodale House’s character with a contemporary take on the grand Highland country house. The result is six luxury bedrooms and an executive lounge with stunning views of the Sound of Raasay and famous Cuillin mountains on Skye. These rooms are now available for you to book online and enjoy the five star experience of staying in our distillery’s whisky hotel.
Looking after you will be our own multi-talented Barbara Martin, who combines her passion for the finest standards in hospitality and cuisine with her artistic creativity and attention to detail.Book Now Find Out More
In the still house our new recruits are settling in and boosting our production schedule. Led by distiller Iain Robertson, the complete team, like our new make spirit, is perfectly balanced. The ladies, Naomi and Barbara, provide elegant spice and subtlety, while the gents, Joseph and Ross, provide raw strength and, of course, plenty of aroma.
Barley Trials on Raasay
Meanwhile, outside the distillery the seasons have rolled on into spring, which means it is now time to think, and plant, barley. As with last year, we will be running a trial of a variety of barley types to see which does best in our island climate. Once again, we are working with Peter Martin of the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Agronomy Institute on Orkney. By the start of May, we will plant two new varieties alongside Bere and IsKria (which were successful last year) to find an early-ripening variety for Raasay, and avoid the high levels of rainfall at the end of the season. If successful, we will be able to produce a special batch of Isle of Raasay single malt that uses 100% local barley and water..
Visitor Experience Manager, Raasay Distillery