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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

December 17, 2022





Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Three Isle Of Raasay
Last week we had three Talisker, so why not follow it up this week with three Isle of Raasay? I visited the distillery earlier this year and was very impressed by it on many levels, I'd urge you to visit if you are in that chunk of Scotland.


Isle of Raasay 'Distillery Special Release' (52%, OB, 2022)

Isle of Raasay 'Distillery Special Release' (52%, OB, 2022)
A bottling that is exclusive to the distillery and was matured initially in a peated ex-Rye Whiskey cask before finishing in ex-oloroso and PX sherry quarter casks. It's not only the indys that are doing these kinds of cask juggling practices it would seem. Colour: deep gold. Nose: fresh breads and shards of salty and slightly jaggy peat smoke. I also find some impressions of smoked citrus rinds and citronella waxes. Rye bread with salted butter and some lightly smoked ales. There's some wood cleverness at play here, but it feels smart and sensitively deployed. With water: green olive, peppercorns in brine and hints of rock pools, pickled tarragon and these lovely wee briny touches. Mouth: the oak is a little more grippy here, with some warm tannin, green pepper, charcoal notes and thinks like carbon paper, ink, bonfire embers and natural tar resins. There's also this rather lovely peppery and dry herbal side that grows with time. With water: works well with water as it becomes globally more salty and briny with more lemon juice notes, fabrics, old style shilling ales and more spicy bread notes. Finish: medium, I find the oak coming back again a little sharply here, but there's still plenty of similarly peppery and salty things happening. Comments: a very lovely and very 'Island' drop, even though I do feel the rather technical wood influence at times. Although, that wood has been deployed with skill and I think the result is a very smart composition with a bedrock of excellent distillate.
SGP: 563 - 85 points.



Isle Of Raasay 2017/2022 (56.1%, Berry Brothers & Rudd, cask #23, 1st fill barrel + oloroso and PX sherry finish, 240 bottles)

Isle Of Raasay 2017/2022 (56.1%, Berry Brothers & Rudd, cask #23, 1st fill barrel + oloroso and PX sherry finish, 240 bottles)
A 'single' cask that was split into two finishings and then recombined - I suspect they must have a lot of fun up there in those warehouses on Raasay… hope they have a reliable forklift truck! Colour: gold. Nose: I forgot to mention this is from 100% peated distillate, and it shows superbly on the nose. Green olives bobbing in brine and lemon juice, peat embers in a warm kiln, a sense of older style herbal peat even! Then it goes into this complicated mix of medicinal and herbal notes with salted liquorice and sweet tar. I have to say, I find this really outstanding so far. With water: still wonderfully salty with kelp and dried seaweed, but also miso, soy sauce and camphor as well. Gathering complexity with time and water I find, evolving this lovely umami profile. Mouth: again the oak alters things a little on the palate with some green peppery notes up front, but there's also superb medicines, herbal liqueur, salt baked root vegetables and iodine. Really excellent and amazing how they managed to use this wood trickery alongside peat to deliver an almost old style profile. With water: superbly peaty, herbal, medicinal and sweetly tarry, while also still holding on this nervous briny and salty edge. Finish: long, full of tar, pickling juices, seaweed, iodine and liquorice. Comments: hugely impressive. Young, brand new whisky that is brilliant now. I also love the extremely smart and clever use of wood finishing here, modern wood use that also manages to deliver whisky with some soul. I hope there are many more such wonders to be found at Raasay. Great work by them and also by Jonny for selecting it.

SGP: 565 - 90 points.



Isle Of Raasay 2019/2022 (59.5%, OB for Royal Mile Whiskies, cask #22, ex-rye barrel + PX sherry finish, 163 bottles)

Isle Of Raasay 2019/2022 (59.5%, OB for Royal Mile Whiskies, cask #22, ex-rye barrel + PX sherry finish, 163 bottles)
A brand new one that's also from peated distillate. Colour: orangey gold. Nose: I find the peat a lot quieter in this one, instead we are entering a world of smoked marmalades, burnt orange peels, soot coal embers, black pepper and quince. It's another excellent one but I'm slightly surprised by the divergence. With water: preserved dark and citrus fruits, camphor, smoked oatmeal and a wee refreshing hint of seawater. Mouth: ok, back onto this superb saltiness if a little more typically modern and wood-orientated. Various shades of peppercorn, cornichons in pickling brine, lemon juice and smoked olive oil. Still a few spoonfuls of spiced bitter marmalade as well which works very nicely - even going towards blood orange and date molasses. With water: a few salty cured meats coming through now, pickled walnuts, anchovy paste, salted almonds and natural tar. All these flavours that seem to circle around and emanate from peat without explicit being peaty. Finish: long, wonderfully dry and full of brittle, clean smoke. Reminiscent of some impeccable manzanilla. Comments: I preferred the amazing Berry's cask, but this is still excellent. The salinity and charisma of these Raasay's is really what shines for me. These are whiskies that make me excited for the future of Scottish single malts.

SGP: 665 - 88 points.



Dear Raasay, please can we taste these distillates from refill wood in one, two or three years? Thank you.










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