Our First Year
It’s a sobering fact of life that a year isn’t deemed a long time in the world of whisky-making – that is unless it’s your first year! Since opening our doors to locals for our first distillery tour on 9th January, 2018 has been a year of many firsts for us all here on the island. We held our first Burns Night in the Gathering Room and welcomed our first overnight guests staying in our luxury Borodale House rooms.
We mashed our first batch of Raasay-grown malt, hosted the first of our popular Raasay Tunes events featuring many of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians and singers. We held the first wedding at the distillery celebrating the marriage of none other than our own General Manager Norman Gilles and his wife Iona Gillies. VisitScotland paid their first visit and soon we were graded as a 5-star visitor experience and 4-star whisky accommodation experience.
Visitors to the Distillery
We’ve had some amazing people drop by the distillery among our thousands of visitors. We’ve welcomed guests and visitors who have travelled to Raasay from countries all over the world including China, Israel, Taiwan, Tasmania and Venezuela. Special visitors have included Olympic gold medal cyclist Chris Boardman and 93-year-old Mary MacLean, sister of Raasay’s revered poet Sorley MacLean. To top it all we had Scotch Whisky Association Chief Executive come to Raasay to launch the Hebridean Whisky Trail with our neighbouring island distilleries Talisker Distillery, Torabhaig Distillery and Isle of Harris Distillery.
Our Distillery Team
Our fantastic team of island staff have been front and centre of a successful first year. Young and ‘well matured’, capable and adaptable, we’ve had over 20 enthusiastic folk working here across the year. All are now outstanding ambassadors for the Isle of Raasay and the distillery’s island single malt Scotch whisky. Thanks to them our TripAdvisor rating is a solid 5 stars with personal thanks to individual staff in many reviews. Favourite review of the year so far is just one word. “Fantastico!”
From day one we knew how important partnership working would be for making things happen on the island. In March we invited all our neighbouring hospitality and food and drink neighbours to the distillery’s first Business Open Day. The connections and relationships we established on the day with some of Skye’s best-known foodie destinations have stood us in great stead ever since, building awareness off the island and gaining recommendations from other attractions and businesses.
Under our Head Distiller Iain Robertson our four-strong distilling team has now settled into the rhythm of our two-shift production schedule. We are on course to produce 188,000 litres of alcohol per year and now have over 800 filled casks maturing on the island in bourbon, virgin oak, rye whisky and Bordeaux casks.
Winter Tour Times & Closure Dates
Between 16th November 2018 until the 14th February 2019 we will run a restricted number of distillery tours, and like many distilleries we will close our visitor centre and shop over Christmas and New Year between 21st December 2018 until 6th January 2019. Tour requests will be considered subject to availability during this time. Please send any enquiries to [email protected]View Winter Tour Times & Closure Dates
So much for 2018, we’re already looking forward to the start of 2019.
Visitor Experience Manager, Raasay Distillery