As we prepare for the turn of the seasons, we’re wrapping up our gin-themed few weeks by talking you through our carefully developed, island inspired gin recipe. We crafted the perfect balance of flavours by distilling Raasay 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. The result is a refreshing, zesty dry botanical gin with a lasting aftertaste that encapsulates the style, character and impressive geological variety of our Hebridean island.
So before we dive into the finer details of how we devised our unique gin recipe, let’s begin by explaining the basics of the gin production process.
Starting with 96% strength spirit, we add water from our very own well on Raasay to reduce the spirit strength down. Everything on Raasay is designed to be flexible, and our Isle of Raasay Gin is made in an unusual way. We use the smaller of our two pot stills – the exact same still that is used to make our whisky. Another unique touch is that our secret 10th botanical, double distilled Raasay Malt Spirit is used.
Once it has been reduced down, the liquid is ready to be put in the still. The still itself was designed to make whisky, but every other part of the process was intentionally designed for both whisky and gin. When the time comes to produce our gin, which is only once a year, whisky production stops and our amazing team focuses all their efforts on producing enough gin to last us the whole year! No mean feat…
But let’s get back to gin production. Once the liquid is in the still, it is heated and the vapours go across the lyne arm, at which point we open the valve that connects to the gin basket where the vapours lift the essential oils from the botanicals – you can just imagine the delicious aromas drifting around the distillery.
After the botanicals have been infused with the spirit, the gin is then collected. It is rested for up to a week in an intermediate vessel. Our Isle of Raasay malt spirit is then added, an essential late touch and subtle nod to its whisky sibling. Finally it is reduced with Raasay water from our well down to the perfect strength of 46% prior to bottling, and ready to be enjoyed in many delicious ways!
The recipe of our Scottish Gin was developed at lab scale with Fiona Williamson from Heriot Watt University and its coveted Brewing and Distilling masters course. It required a carefully considered process to develop a way to scale it up. Botanicals were tried and tested, with sea thrift even being considered, but eventually it was narrowed down to 10 botanicals, including Raasay juniper, and rhubarb that was found growing at the derelict site of the distillery when we bought it back in 2014 – staying true to our roots!
Our recipe contains 10 botanicals. These botanicals have to be treated differently in order to extract the flavours. Some of the botanicals are lowered into the still in a muslin bag and some are held in a vapour basket. For the three botanicals placed in the liquid in the still, the alcohol extracts the flavour.
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.
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 double distilled spirit.