I didn’t put the cask type in the title, since there has to be something left for the post itself too. This, apparently, is a mix of rye whisky and bordeaux casks, but there are also chinkapin oak casks in the mix.
I’m always a bit confused when these are mentioned in the same breath, since rye whisky and bordeaux only mention the previous contents of the casks, but they could be of any type of oak. While chinkapin is the specific type of oak used. It’s a bit like describing your recycling as ‘something that contained milk, something that contained juice, and a plastic jar’.
Anyway, enough with the nonsense, and back to what is actually important.
Raasay Distillery, on the Isle of Raasay, just to the east of Skye has been operational for a little while. This release came out this year, but it’s not the first whisky they’ve released. Of course, the inaugural edition went like crazy, but these bigger batches seem to be quite available.
Without ever taking any notes, I was able to try some of their spirits at a festival stand at the Hielander Whisky Festival through Chris Hoban (also of Edinburgh Whisky Blog, among other things). I was rather impressed, even though I had to switch from epic whiskies from the 1970s at Dutch Whisky Connection’s stand to a 1 year old spirit, but still.
Lastly, before we head into the tasting notes, let’s take a minute to appreciate how absolutely beautiful these bottles are!
There’s quite some peat on this one, with not a lot of smoke. As in, there’s some smoke, but it’s mostly earthy notes. Rather heavy with hints of mulch, rotting leaves, soil. Straw with a hint of seaweed. Some coastal notes with a bit of dry oak.
The palate is dry and light. A bit thin even. Some coastal notes with salt and brine, sand. But also straw, and slightly less earthy than the nose was. Smoke and soil, but more towards the smoke than before.
More smoke again, interestingly. Not very long, but the slight thin-ness of the palate doesn’t continue here. There’s some oak and straw, so it’s still pretty dry, smoke and earhty notes.
Pretty solid whisky, and it’s taking a slightly different approach compared to Talisker (and therefore Torabhaig). Pretty heavy/dark and not too young.
The only thing I’m not really sure about is the mix of casks used. With a whisky this young and this peated, it seems a bit of a waste of effort. Also, and that’s just my take on things, I’d rather get to know the spirit at this age, than know what the team can do with casks.