27th July 2021 marks the Isle of Raasay Gin’s second birthday. Two years since we danced the night away to Trail West Band with a gin in hand! Here’s 3 fun facts about the first legal spirit from Raasay to mark the occasion.
Before settling on the final recipe for our gin, we did a lot of desk and field (literally) research into Raasay’s native botanicals with the help of local botanist Dr Stephen Bungard.
We are fortunate that gin’s key botanical, juniper berries (juniperus communis), grows on the north coast of Raasay.
We set about looking for female Juniper plants because it’s only the female species that produce berries. The berries can take up to two years to ripen into a deep purple colour, so it’s quite common to see both green and purple berries on the plant at the same time.
Expect pleasant floral, woody and pine resin aromas.
Soft, sweet orange citrus flavours work well with our earthy gin, and complement the crispness of the lemon peel.
Candied lemon peel aromas. Zesty and crisp, bringing a dry freshness with a hint of bitterness.
Lends a refreshing taste to the recipe, with bittersweet, grassy notes of the island.
Brings an earthy, sweet, musky flavour that complements the juniper.
Releases complex citrusy, nutty flavours with a touch of sweet spice.
This sweet and woody botanical is used to balance and bind all the botanicals together.Expect pleasant floral, woody and pine resin aromas from our juniper-led gin.
Brings floral notes and also carries an earthy, dusty sweetness, reminiscent of parma violets.
Aromatic pepperiness mixed with notes of lemon and pine.
Lighter than our typical new make spirit with a more concentrated blackcurrant note.
We had a lot of fun making our gin, and tasting lots of other gins first for research of course!
After creating a short list of our favourite botanicals with local botanist Dr Bungard, we were fortunate to be able to work with Heriot Watt University MsC student Fiona Williamson who worked a summer as a tour guide at the distillery! Fiona single distilled our botanicals on their own, and then together on small glass stills as part of her Master’s project. We ruled out a few botanicals through this process, like sea pinks, or armeria maritima to give them their Latin name.
The next challenge was to scale that recipe up for our 3,600 litre copper pot still in Raasay! After some trial and error, we hope you’ll agree that we crafted a lovely balance of flavours by distilling the juniper along with a select few botanicals in our copper malt spirit still, and vapour infusing the rest in our copper gin basket to retain their vibrancy. When the citrus reveals itself, our distillers make the cut and collect only the “heart” of the run, the very best quality spirit.
The Isle of Raasay’s unique geology, shores and horizons inspired our gin design.
The bottle shape and contemporary colours reflect our modern island distillery, and the textured lettering, ‘liquified’ images and silhouette views of the mountains, including Dun Caan/Dùn Cana, echo the contours and horizons of the island and its surroundings. A fusion of tradition with contemporary design.
A lot of geology students come up to Raasay to study our unique geology, and the geological strata and different layers of rock along Calum’s Road were a key inspiration for the design.
We are really lucky to have a distillery well where we draw Raasay water up through 60 metres of rock, including porous Jurassic sandstone. The result is a mineral-rich water for our Raasay spirit. At 46% ABV, 54% of our gin is Raasay water, so the geology’s impact on our water is really important.
There is a long history of illicit distilling on Raasay, so it’s quite cool to imagine what the gins of years gone by would have tasted like using that same water, and likely the same Isle of Raasay juniper!
We are open Monday to Saturday all year round until the evening of Friday 17th December 2021.
Monday to Saturday: 11:00-17:00 (last tour of the day starts at 5pm).
Monday – Friday: 10:00 – 9:00 pm / Saturday: 10:00 – 10:00 PM
The Isle of Raasay, an island rooted in centuries of illicit distilling, provides the ingredients for the perfect dram. Our lightly peated Isle of Raasay Single Malt is an expression of this magical place.
Our zesty, smooth and refreshing Isle of Raasay Gin combines an exciting selection of ten Raasay and traditional botanicals, including Raasay juniper, sweet orange peel, rhubarb root and our triple distilled spirit.
Enjoy a warm island welcome at our award-winning visitor centre and whisky hotel, Borodale House. Discover our tour options and book today, or better still, wake up in the distillery for an unforgettable experience!