It’s the 2nd release from the Raasay While We Wait concept, which for those unfamiliar is a small isle just off the coast of Skye. The Isle of Skye is one of my favourite places in Scotland, a stunning assortment of landscapes, wonderful food and Talisker. So much so, it’s been our annual Spring break for a decade with another due shortly and if you haven’t made the trip to the Northwest of Scotland then to do, as it puts Islay in the shade.
With the current whisky boom about to deflate it’s a surprise that more distilleries haven’t appeared in this part of Scotland. Talisker has been the bastion of the region for too long and there’s been an often delayed distillery to the south end of Skye for goodness how long now? Finally it’s taken shape as Torabhaig distillery and is just sparking into life; one for next year’s vacation I feel.
Taking the stunning drive along the coast of Skye towards our destination just beyond Portree, the road follows the Sound of Raasay. Here we can see the isle in all its refined beauty, with the mainland looming behind it and the outcrop of Applecross; now that’s a road if you are in the area. The small ferry port is also situated on this road and offers a short ten-minute voyage across to Raasay. We’ll be taking it this year as I want to explore and island, with the added attraction of a distillery sparking into life.
This bottling forms part of a series of releases from R&B Distillers who have been entertaining whisky enthusiasts in recent years with limited batches of skilfully blended whisky. Alasdair Day has been the main instigator with his inspiration coming from the discovery of a family cellar book that once belonged to his great-grandfather. His blending secrets were contained within and prompted the beginning of new voyage for Alasdair, as he sought to rediscover his DNA for blending. The result was the Tweeddale Blend which subsequently sold out upon release. Further batches have proven just as popular with various awards being received and general applause.
Today as a blending force, R&B Distillers are established and are currently in motion to establish 2 distilleries in Scotland. One in the overlooked Borders region, and the other will be set on the distant isle of Raasay. It’s currently being built as I type this with the stills being fitted into what promises to be a stunning location, bringing employment to the local community and tourism. It’s the sort of social distillery ethic that I supported with the Isle of Harris and wish them all tremendous success.
For now, it’s the whisky series aptly named While We Wait that comes under the Whisky Rover spotlight. This is bottled at the excellent strength of 46% abv and is naturally colours and non-chill filtered. These are all good signs and is the result of blending 2 expressions from a single distillery; one peated and one unpeated. Then a cask finish was applied via Tuscan wine casks for a period of 18 months, making it arguably more of a double maturation. The more observant of you will notice this is the 2ndrelease, with the 1st actually having the same recipe but finished in the aforementioned French casks for just 8 weeks. An interesting concept, but it’s all in the final experience.
Colour: amber nectar
Nose: it’s an array of cherry wood and fresh peaches. Followed by the sweetness of toffee and the depth of chocolate. Then oranges and red grapes with a little butterscotch and tobacco.
Taste: rubber is my initial thought which will be the wine cask, then raisins and strawberries with a flourish of red velvet cake and all its ingredients. There’s some red grapes and strawberries at work and a light peaty foundation but it feels a little torn in which direction it should go in.
Overall: I’m not blown away by this especially when I note the price of around £57 for a bottle. I’m already aware of the blending skills of the brains behind the Raasay, but this proves you can get swept away with using wine casks. These are dangerous beasts and rather expensive toys as well. It’s a nice concept but in reality lets put this down as a learning experience.
My thanks to Tom’s Whisky Reviews for the sample!