The Isle of Raasay lies off the west coast of Scotland in the Inner Hebrides, separated from the Isle of Skye by a short 25 minute ferry journey.
This corner of the world is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, geological variety, and one of Scotland’s most incredibly diverse ecosystems.
Comparable in size and shape to Manhattan Island, the Raasay Island has only 160 residents. Today, over 10% of the island work at the distillery.
Rooted in centuries of illicit distilling and rich in history, culture and community, from Bonnie Prince Charlie and celebrated Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean, to the enigmatic Calum’s Road – Raasay Island has a character of its own, distinct from any of the other Hebridean islands. It is also a fantastic base from which to explore the neighbouring Isle of Skye.
Translated from Old Norse as ‘island of the roe (or red) deer’, Raasay, or Ratharsair in Gaelic, boasts a diverse geology, forged in volcanic fires.
Water from our well, known as ‘Tobar na Ba Baine/the Well of the Pale Cow’ flows across volcanic rock and filters through Jurassic sandstone, adding minerals crucial to the flavour in our whisky and gin.
Our fine-tuned range of expressions harness Raasay’s raw elements of water, and for special releases, local peat and barley – and bring them to life through premium Scottish gin and whisky.
Our whisky and gin are an expression of people and place.
One hotel, three bed and breakfasts, two shops, one primary school, and a distillery built by the hands of several islanders – make up the island’s close-knit community.
Generations of people, knowledge, and culture shape Raasay Island’s philosophy and influence the character of our spirit. An island, distilled.
Follow #RaasayCharacters to find out more.
Raasay Island dates back to the Gaelic Kingdom of Dalriada in the 6th Century and became a Norse subject in the 8th Century, which is why we see such a strong Norse influence on our place names.
The island returned to the Kingdom of Scotland in 1266 and was ruled by Mac Gille Chaluim, the Macleods of Raasay, from the 16th-19th Century before a succession of private landlords.
Bonnie Prince Charlie, undoubtedly one of the most famous historical figures to set foot on Raasay, spent two nights hiding out on Raasay following the 1746 Battle of Culloden. The Macleods of Raasay suffered brutal retribution at the hands of the Hanovarian troops for their support for the Jacobite cause, all their livestock killed, homes and boats looted and razed.
Raasay is also the birth place of Sorley Maclean, the most significant Gaelic poet of the 20th Century. Sorley Maclean’s powerful imagery in works such as ‘Hallaig’, portrays the grief and hardship suffered by his native Raasay as a result of the Highland Clearances, which saw the population drop from over 1,000 to what it is today.
It is this poignant history that has shaped the spirit of Raasay Island today.
You might want to spend all your time on the Isle of Raasay relaxing with a dram or a G&T admiring the magical views, but if you can tear your eyes away, this small but mighty island has a lot to offer.
Join our Slàinte Club today. Our members enjoy 10% off distillery tours booked online, £5 off their first online order over £50, and are always the first to find out about new releases and stories from the island.
This year, we are making major improvements to our visitor centre and accommodation, including adding a restaurant. Construction work will be ongoing at the distillery until approximately May 2022. We have temporary arrangements in place for our distillery tours and shop and we aim to minimise any disruption caused during your visit.
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.