"The Inner Sound", the stretch of water that separates Raasay from the Scottish mainland is, at 324 metres, the deepest section of the UK's territorial waters.
Raasay can now add to it's list of achievements that of hosting Scotland's newest whisky distillery.
The first (legal) whisky distillation on the isle of Raasay began last week with the opening of R&B Distillers' Isle of Raasay Distillery. Having spent a great deal of time and effort fine-tuning the distillery's every detail (and creating the much loved While We Wait single malt in anticipation), it's a real landmark for R&B and a cause for celebration amongst craft whisky lovers.
Since members of Craft Whisky Club often leave us rave reviews on R&B’s Borders and While We Wait whiskies, we can't wait to see what they do up at the Raasay Distillery. But as any whisky buff will tell you, we’ve got at least another 3 years before the first Scotch whisky gets on the ferry back to the mainland.
To celebrate the opening of the Distillery, R&B invited a handful of esteemed guests, whisky experts, friends and family to the Isle of Raasay, in order to properly commemorate the Distillery opening its doors.
I was lucky enough to represent Craft Whisky Club at the opening event. After a ferry ride over to Raasay, my day began with a first look at the new facilities. The tour was given by Isle of Raasay Master Distiller, Iain Robertson, who will come to know the stills better than anyone.
Iain presumably raising the whisky spirits!
In the afternoon, all guests congregated on the pier to welcome the Isle of Skye pipe band off the ferry, who then led the way back to the distillery for the cutting of the cord ceremony.
After a welcome from R&B co-founder Alisdair Day, the ribbon to officially open Raasay Distillery was cut by renowned whisky expert Dave Broom.
Friendship and good fortune were marked with the Passing of the Quaich, a quaich filled with the contents of a bottle of While We Wait shared by all.
Later on that evening, after a couple of expertly prepared whisky cocktails, guests were piped into dinner before being treated to a sumptuous three course meal in the west wing of Raasay House. After a couple of speeches and some well-deserved toasts to the tireless R&B staff who made this event possible, attendees and islanders were able to wind down with an after dinner cocktail and some superb live music from the Trosg, followed by a traditional Scottish Ceilidh in the West Wing of Raasay House.
On the Sunday the guests enjoyed a breakfast before checking out and taking the ferry back to the mainland.
With the festivities over, the real work begins on Raasay to get the first batch of whisky distilled and ready to mature. R&B are not wasting any time though – the first rounds of distillation have already taken place! You’ll probably see the first whisky from the Isle of Raasay in a 3-5 years time, but if you cant wait that long, check out some of the great whiskies from R&B that are available through our Secret Still and our Craft Whisky Subscriptions.