You may already know that R&B Distillers is in the process of building its first legal distillery on the Isle of Raasay.
What you might not know, is that the craft whisky makers have a long-term ambition to use all-local ingredients – water, peat and barley – to create a spirit that reflects the 'uncommon terroir'. For this to happen, R&B Distillers has to establish whether it would be possible to grow and ripen barley suitable for whisky making on the island.
Starting in April this year, R&B Distillers began to trial barley growing on the island with five different barleys: Bere, Concerto, Tartan, Iskria, Kannas. Once R&B found a variety that ripens well and has a low enough moisture content for malting, the barley will be sent away to be malted using Raasay peat. The barley will then be returned to the distillery and used to create a lightly-peated Raasay Single Malt.
Hoping to inspire local farmers and growers, R&B intends to hold an open day when the results are in, as well as looking at the future of barley growing on Raasay.
With an ultimate long-term objective of growing enough local barley on Raasay, as well as on Skye and Kyle, R&B hopes to produce a single malt from 100% locally grown barley.