Saturday morning, we arrived in the misty port on the Isle of Raasay. We took a tour of yet another distillery… another brand new one designed to bring business to one of Scotland’s beautiful, remote islands. The Isle of Raasay Distillery doesn’t have a whisky ready yet, but is selling gin and Raasay While We Wait, a single malt made of two expressions from one distillery. One is peated, and the other is unpeated.
We reached the distillery by foot, as it was just up the hill from the rugged pier where the ship docked. The weather was chilly and kind of wet. When we entered the very attractive foyer of the welcome center, my eyes immediately landed on a big blue sweatshirt. Remembering that I had made more room for warm weather clothes than cold, I decided to buy it after our tour.
We did get a proper tour, by the way. A young man named Alistair showed our group the distillery’s one warehouse. Two more will soon be built, and all of the liquor will eventually be moved to make room for a bottling facility. Like the Isle of Harris Distillers, the Isle of Raasay Distillery hopes to create local jobs for young people to keep the island’s economy alive. The Isle of Raasay Distillery, which is also a boutique hotel with reportedly gorgeous rooms, is mostly run by family. But they did seem open to getting some new blood into the tight-knit community. I have to admit, they made the Isle of Raasay sound like a lovely place to live. If I were about twenty years younger, I’d give some thought into moving there and finding a job.
We also saw the very modern Italian machinery that fuels the distillery’s efforts, and we got to taste a couple of the whiskys and the gin. I found While We Wait to be very strong. In fact, I made the lone Danish guy on our cruise laugh because of my surprised expression. He later told me that I shouldn’t play poker. Good thing I’m not a gambler.
I did like the gin a lot, and later that afternoon, I had Louis make me a gin and tonic with Isle of Raasay gin. Those who finished the tour in time were invited to visit Raasay House, a hotel where I’m sure refreshments and a tour were available. Bill and I skipped the house and went back to the ship. It was ridiculously chilly. I know it’s Scotland and Scotland is way up in the north, but I’m a southerner and being chilly in August is still kind of weird. Supposedly, on a clear day, Isle of Raasay Distillery has the best view on the island. I can believe it.
At about 1:00pm, we left Raasay and cruised under the Skye Bridge, through Kyle Rhea, and the Sound of Sleat. Once again, I found myself wanting to read a book and nap. Bill went to listen to Jim Allan’s talk “Wind, Water and Wood”.
Next up, the Isle of Skye…