Author Topic: Isle of Raasay Distillery - Scotland  (Read 2646 times)

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Offline Matt

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Isle of Raasay Distillery - Scotland
« on: January 27, 2023, 10:53:43 am »
I stayed here last summer for a couple of nights. I wish I'd stayed longer.

Reached via 10-15 minutes on a little 8-10 open car ferry from Skye it's a small distillery with - when I was there - just 5 rooms, a small dining room, and a nice lounge with floor to ceiling glass looking out to Skye. They only began making whisky 4 or 5 years ago, and so only now are they releasing stuff. Like most they introduced gin the devil's drink to bridge the revenue gap.

I started off my visit with the obligatory distillery tour. Being such a small and inaccessible place, it was only the residents there, so nice small numbers and free conversation. Good talk on wind power, renewables focus etc. too. Then back to the lounge for a brief 'tasting' session and quick hello to one of the founders. And then more tasting. One of the things they mentioned, and that I particularly liked, was their efforts to hire local people, and to try to organically re-up the dwindling circa 200 population count in this manner. Raasay House (the only other place to eat) down the road was similarly minded.

If you enjoy food, this place is great. Sadly I only ate there the one evening, and at Raasay House the other. The latter was great but I spent quite a while chatting to the chef guy at the distillery and his passion for the food, ingredients sourcing, quality, menu creation etc was crazy good. Their drinks guy was also very good at pairing their menu with drinks. The meal I had there was incredible. It also wasn't tourist-priced (FYI The Glencoe Inn: Tourist prices, somewhat obviously, but big time). When I was there they were mid-project to create a more impressive dining room on the other end of the building.

Another bonus point - although even at Glencoe I was almost laughed at for mentioning this topic - security is not a concern! Of course, the thing getting rained on for more than half the time might be, depending on rust proclivity. I saw it as a good way to remove some of the several hundred miles of dirt and grime it gathered on the way there. And to wash off the salt from the crossing.

The weather was... changeable.

As for the rest of the island, if you enjoy walking it's great. Brochel Castle is about 3 hours or so walk up the main road of the island. It's not really a castle anymore though. But it's something to aim for! Although it's just a single track road to walk there, it gives views of Skye and the wonderfully changing landscape. It was also incredible to spot the occasional house or two nestled into a little valley. There were apparently deer around too - I ate a bit of one for dinner - that probably have one of the lowest carbon footprints when served up!

If you use OS maps there is a suggestion of a path down the east side of the island too, eventually leading to where some fossils were once discovered. However in reality this path is used by a sheep. The rest of the sheep that tried it probably fell into the sea as I tried to. I spent a good few hours hacking my way through ferns, taking amazing photos, losing the path, and eventually turning round. The good news though is that if I had fallen on the rocks I'd still have 5G as I was within sight of the mainland.

For most people though, the sensible approach would be to ride/drive up to the castle like a couple I met did. Drive up, go "oh it's a bit smaller than I expected and it's almost completely collapsed." Turn around, drive back. Sit in lounge and drink wine/whisky. I did almost the same but it took me another 8 or so hours from seeing the castle to drinking whisky again. Watching the weather and the sea and the night sky from such a vantage point was most rewarding!

Oh yeah, the whisky is pretty decent too.





Edit: The top box was for the 6 or 7 bottles of whisky I brought back!
« Last Edit: January 27, 2023, 11:06:52 am by Matt »
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Offline Phmode

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Re: Isle of Raasay Distillery - Scotland
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2023, 03:03:37 pm »
Nice trip. My lovely neighbours tried to bring me a bottle of whisky from the Isle of Harris distillery situated 3 feet from the ramp of the boat as you disembark. Unfortunately they were new at the whisky thing (the distillery, not the lovely neighbours) and so I got a lovely Sugar Kelp infused gin which is a-mazing.

Offline Grumpy jase

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Re: Isle of Raasay Distillery - Scotland
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2023, 04:30:41 pm »
Nice pictures of Scotland are always welcome.  Thanks for sharing.  I've never been to Raasay, although I've spent many occasions looking at it from Skye or Applecross.  This may be the inspiration to jump on the ferry next time I get up there.  I guess it depends on how much I want the walk, or the whisky.
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Offline richtea

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Re: Isle of Raasay Distillery - Scotland
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2023, 05:12:31 pm »
A slight aside, but I'm sure there's a fun trip to be had by trying to use as many Calmac ferries as possible in a set time. It would be less busy than the NC500.

Offline Matt

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Re: Isle of Raasay Distillery - Scotland
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2023, 06:40:49 pm »
Nice pictures of Scotland are always welcome.  Thanks for sharing.  I've never been to Raasay, although I've spent many occasions looking at it from Skye or Applecross.  This may be the inspiration to jump on the ferry next time I get up there.  I guess it depends on how much I want the walk, or the whisky.

Remember the food too, I think that completed the Raasay experience for me!

A slight aside, but I'm sure there's a fun trip to be had by trying to use as many Calmac ferries as possible in a set time. It would be less busy than the NC500.

I'd welcome that. Doing something similar in Norway would be great too.
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Offline fjtwelve

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Re: Isle of Raasay Distillery - Scotland
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2023, 07:52:03 pm »
Norway? Nordkapp is on the bucket list