I’m not a patient person and even waiting too long for a drink at the bar can get me riled up, so I can’t imagine what waiting ten years to complete a road must feel like. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against roads, love’em actually – super useful, but if I were to oversee the construction of one, even for a day or two, I’d need something a little stronger than tea to get me through it. Raasay resident Calum Macleod did just that, when back in 1974, he completed the mammoth endeavour of building a hand-constructed (!) road connecting Brochel Castle to Arnish on the remote Isle of Raasay off the east coast of Skye in Scotland. This February, R&B Distillers payed homage to this diligent gent with the release of their second batch of lightly peated, single malt whisky, Raasay While We Wait.
In the second iteration of this limited edition single malt whisky just 1,974 bottles were released into circulation, in order to honour the final brick of Calum Macleod’s road-odyssey. This new batch has undergone an additional 18 months of finishing in Tuscan red wine casks, imbuing the spirit with a rounder, fruitier flavour. R&B distillers are currently in the process of building their first (strictly legal) distillery on the Isle of Raasay, however, masters of patience themselves, whilst obtaining the correct planning permissions necessary to complete their first distillery, they’ve joined forces with another Highland distillery to continue to create their beloved spirit ‘whilst they wait’.
More than a clever name and play on words; While We Wait is a beautifully crafted single malt whisky which reflects the high minerality of the Raasay water (that has been filtered naturally through the volcanic rock of Dùn Caan) from which it has been created. The use of Tuscan cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc casks have lent the whisky ripe, fruity notes whilst remaining carefully balanced against the 15 ppm peating. The additional time spent finishing in these casks has also brought forward a bigger, more well-rounded flavour that has forgone a lot the smoke and spice qualities of the original batch.
Although I’m anxious to try what R&B Distillers can do on their own grounds, I’ll happily await the release of their forthcoming batches in the summer, so long as I’ve got a bottle or two of While We Wait, whilst I wait.
Melanie Chenoweth is a London based, freelance food writer and photographer. If you can eat it, she’ll snap it. Then eat it. Then write about it.
Photographs courtesy of R&B Distillers