R&B Distillers has launched two new premium whiskies in advance of making their first spirit at two new distilleries that are due to be built in Scotland.
Using carefully sourced whisky, the new products are the aptly named single malt While We Wait and the single-grain Borders – referencing the new company’s roots in the Scottish Borders.
R&B, which stands for Raasay and Borders, was co-founded by Alasdair Day who had one great-grandfather, Allan MacDonald, from the Hebrides and another, Richard Day, who was a master blender in the Borders in the early 19th century.
It is this history that has prompted R&B’s ongoing project to build a distillery on the Isle of Raasay in the Inner Hebrides and another in the Scottish Borders.
With While We Wait, R&B has crafted a single malt whisky by bringing together two expressions from one distillery – one peated, one unpeated – described as “a tantalising prediction” of the flavours that will be produced at the new distillery on the Isle of Rasaay, off the remote west coast of Skye.
The smoky peat aroma is softened in the finishing process which occurs in French oak Tuscan red wine casks and results in a unique, lightly fruity aroma and a heather hue.
The new Borders single grain whisky is lighter and softer in flavour than the smoky peat dram of While We Wait. Matured in ex-bourbon casks and finished in ex-oloroso sherry casks, Borders has been produced to reflect a lowland style.
While We Wait has ABV of 46% and Borders is at 51.7%. Both whiskies are non-chillfiltered.
Alasdair’s great-grandfather blended whisky in the Border town of Coldstream and now, over 150 years since the last distillery in the Scottish Borders, he is returning to his roots and plans to reinstate whisky in the region. Peebles was selected by the Scottish general public as the preferred location for the new distillery.
As a precursor to the new distilleries being built, R&B Distillers has unveiled membership to its Na Tùsairean club, using the Scots Gaelic word for “The Pioneers” – an exclusive offering for whisky aficionados.
The inaugural 100 casks of Raasay whisky will be bottled exclusively for Na Tùsairean members who will receive one bottle each year for 10 years, gradually acquiring up a rare collection of R&B whisky.
Members will also receive miniatures so they can experience a dram of the whisky without breaking into their collector’s bottle, and exclusive rights to stay at the distillery’s luxury accommodation.
While We Wait, priced at £56.85 and Borders priced at £49.98 are available to buy directly from the R&B Distillers website and at selected retailers. In the on-trade, stockists include the Whiski Rooms, Teuchters Landing and Teuchters West End in Edinburgh, Drysbrugh Abbey Hotel in Drysbrugh, Raasay House Hotel on Raasay, and Sconser Lodge on Skye.
Tasting notes from R&B Distillers
While We Wait
Aroma: Surprisingly very little smoke on the nose but instead light fruity notes come through.
Colour: Natural colour, heather tinted imparted from Tuscan red wine oak casks.
Taste: Instantly there is peat smoke and spice (a distant campfire, black pepper, liquorice, oak and then the sea breeze). Slowly this is balanced with the dry fruit from the Tuscan red wine casks (black currant, blackberry, raspberry and cherries).
Finish: A long lingering finish.
Food Pairings: Pairs well with Sconser Scallops, Smoked Salmon, game, grouse, woodcock, venison, creamy blue cheese, bacon, haggis.
Aroma: Prominent sherry notes on the nose, hints of sugar-coated nuts.
Colour: Natural colour, lightly golden taken from sherry finishing casks.
Taste: Surprisingly dry on the palate with the sherry influences dominating. Walnuts balanced with vanilla, herbaceous and floral notes coming through towards the end, and just a touch of warm spice.
Finish: Lingering, dry and complex.
Food Pairings: Pairs well with Cocoa Black dark praline chocolates.