May brought us some absolutely fantastic weather here on Raasay, great for visitors to the distillery but also for our barley trials. We are working with local farmer Andrew Gillies to establish varieties of barley to grow here on the island, and he’s been busy ploughing, harrowing and sowing the seeds for our 2019 trials. Each year we’ve been narrowing down a short-list of barley varieties to grow on Raasay, and this year we are planting two that proved successful in the previous two trials: Brage, 6-row Norwegian barley and Iskria, a 2-row Icelandic variety.
Last year, heavy rains falls impeded the progress of some of the freshly-sown barley, but the dry, hot weather this year has created perfect conditions. You can watch our barley field being ploughed and sown below.
Christine Gillies, who is Andrew Gillies’ daughter, works here at the distillery and lives on the croft looking out at the fresh barley shoots – which is in her words, ‘the best view on Raasay’!
With our barley trials we aim to produce a whisky that is truly of Raasay, from field to bottle, produced using Raasay barley, matured on the island and reduced to bottling strength using our own water.