Just when you thought Scotland had run out of islands to make whisky on, the Isle of the Roe Deer has released its inaugural whisky. Isle of Raasay Distillery also became the first distillery to offer accommodation, located within sniffing distance of the mash tuns of this state of art distillery, housed inside an old Victorian villa.
Fourteen miles long and five wide Raasay island, a 25 minute ferry ride from Isle of Skye, has landmarks including the flat-topped Dun Caan mountain, ruined castles Brochel and Vreokle, the cliffs of Creag na Bruaich, and, at long last, a fully functioning distillery.
Previously famous for golden eagles, an endemic bank vole and another place Bonnie Prince Charlie hid after the Battle of Culloden, it now has its own premium whisky. The Hebridean island’s single malt is the first legally produced on the island whose original illicit whisky-makers confined their activities to coastline caves. Isle of Raasay Hebridean Gin was released two years ago.
The distillery offers luxury six-room accommodation in the converted Victorian-era Borodale House overlooking the isle of Skye’s Cullin mountains and named after a local broch or Iron Age stone structure.
While the mansion has no restaurant – guests dine at nearby Raasay House – Scotland’s oldest distillery, located on the mainland, now has.
Mark Donald has joined the Glenturret Distillery in Perthshire to open the first fine-dining restaurant at a Scottish whisky distillery. The Michelin-starred executive chef is known from his previous work at Edinburgh’s Number One at The Balmoral.
Donald also worked at Stravaigin in his home city of Glasgow before undertaking a ‘formative’ season at Noma in Copenhagen. He then spent two years at the two-star Michelin Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire before moving to London to work at the two-star Hibiscus. Following a four-year stint as head chef at the Bentley restaurant in Sydney, Australia, Donald returned home to Scotland in 2018.
His £110 tasting menu comprises treats like Foievioli, Chicken Wing Balmoral, Tattie Scone & Caviar, Orkney Scallop Tartare, Ramson Sambal Turbot, Highland Wagyu and White Asparagus.
Whisky and barley will feature heavily on the menu: the bread is made with the same barley as the whisky and pastry chef Kayleigh Turner infuses whisky and barley into many of the desserts.
Swiss entrepreneur Silvio Denz, head of luxury goods firm Lalique Group, and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss bought the Glenturret in 2019. Lalique’s existing culinary investments include Villa René Lalique, the two-star Michelin restaurant and hotel in Alsace, and the one-star Michelin restaurant and hotel at Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Bommes in the heart of Bordeaux’s Sauternes.
The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant opens 28 July 2021. Reservations here.