For anyone passionate about crafting fine malt whisky the arrival of new casks at the distillery is a moment filled with excitement and anticipation. So it was when the side curtain on our delivery truck was slid open to reveal the next batch of casks for filling on Raasay.
Our eyes were greeted by this array of beautiful pale oak barriques, blushing red from their former contents, the premium Bordeaux red wine of Chateau Calon Ségur. Since 1825 this celebrated vineyard has been producing premium Bordeaux wine which is then matured in these oak barriques for eighteen months before bottling.
So what to do with these lovely, but empty, Bordeaux casks after their contents have been bottled? Well it so happens our ever-imaginative co-founder Alasdair Day had the answer. Load them aboard a truck and transport them to the Hebridean Isle of Raasay to begin their second ‘life’ filled with malt spirit maturing by the sea to produce our single island malt whisky.
Lovely to look at, these barriques will contribute their heady mix of flavour to our whisky from the oak imbued with fine Bordeaux wine. So there is understandable excitement and anticipation from our head distiller Iain Robertson, as he and his team set about our company mission of handcrafting whiskies “of uncommon provenance”.
Raasay Barley Trial Spring Update
At this time of year the fields across Scotland are being ploughed and prepared for the planting of this year’s barley. So it is on Raasay where Andrew Gillies is once again working with the distillery to trial our four varieties for whisky.
On an island the sight of a field being ploughed is even more significant in that it sends a signal to all of us that spring is here, growth is all around us and it’s time to get to work outside as well as inside the distillery. Luckily Andrew’s wife Ann is a dab hand with the camera and she captured this year’s ploughing for us all to enjoy the moment.
The Ringing Stills of Raasay
Usually on a Saturday our stills are silent and sleeping, but on Raasay they can’t resist joining in a good tune – especially when a group of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians come to visit. So what was a casual visit to the distillery turned into a ceilidh including this memorable performance of the famous tune Mrs Macleod of Raasay which is being shared by music and whisky fans around the world.
Visitor Experience Manager, Raasay Distillery