The island landscapes of Skye, Raasay and Harris will provide the backdrop to Scotland’s newest whisky adventure, the Hebridean Whisky Trail.
The new trail has been designed with intrepid whisky wanderers in mind, connecting four neighbouring distilleries – Isle of Raasay Distillery, Torabhaig
Distillery, Talisker Distillery and the Isle of Harris Distillery – through one spectacular 115-mile route.
The Isle of Raasay Distillery opened to visitors in January 2018, with the distillery becoming a new tourist destination for the small Hebridean island, while Torabhaig also joined the ranks of Scotland's distilleries in 2017 providing an another location for whisky fans to love on the Island of Skye alongside the established - and hugely popular - Talikser Distillery.
The line up is completed by the community-owned Harris Distillery, which was founded in 2015 and is making the headlines recently with its much-loved gin.
Alasdair Day, co-founder of Raasay Distillery stated that he is delighted to be involved in the new Hebridean Whisky Trail, he said: “The Hebridean Whisky Trail offers an opportunity for visitors to experience the rich culture, provenance and landscape of three of the Scotland's Hebridean Islands; Harris, Raasay and Skye while visiting four very different Scotch Whisky distilleries”
Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, will launch the trail on 15th August at an official opening ceremony taking place at Raasay Distillery.
Betts said: “The opening of the Hebridean Whisky trail is a fabulous achievement for the four distilleries – Talisker, Torabhaig, Raasay and Harris – and for the distillery workers and islanders who’ve made it happen. I’m delighted they have asked me to help them open it.”
“The trail is a wonderful addition to Hebridean tourism. Newcomers to Scotch Whisky and aficionados alike can enjoy visiting these uniquely island distilleries, each offering something quite different in terms of heritage, location and, of course, Scotch.
"What the distilleries on the trail have been unable to agree on is whose is the best whisky and whose distillery has the most spectacular view – that is now for each visitor to decide.”
Set amidst some of Scotland’s most scenic sea and mountain locations, each distillery has its own distinctive character and atmosphere.
The new trail can be enjoyed by road or by sea with three Calmac ferry crossings linking the destinations, as well as yacht berthing facilities near to each distillery.
By sea, the Trail can be charted clockwise or anti-clockwise around Skye; intrepid sea-farers can set sail from any of the four distilleries from points north, south, east or west.
Road travellers can begin their journey either by crossing over the Skye Bridge at Kyle, or start at the Trail’s northernmost point on Harris, or its southernmost point, at Torabhaig on Skye’s Sleat peninsula. Raasay is only a short 25-minute ferry journey Sconser on Skye and the distillery is located a short stroll from the ferry terminal.
Shona Macleod, Guest Services Manager at Isle of Harris Distillery: "In just its second year, The Isle of Harris distillery welcomed over 80,000 guests in 2017 and we are pleased to be contributing to the growth in tourism in the Outer Hebrides. The Hebridean Whisky Trail will provide an impetus for whisky lovers to go that extra mile and visit the first legal whisky distillery on the Isle of Harris."
The impressive route will also tick off many iconic Hebridean sights for tourists, with the vertiginous peaks on the Isle of Skye, the beautiful scenery on Raasay and the white sandy beaches of Harris all making an appearance along the way.
Diane Farrell, Talisker Distillery Manager: “We are lucky to live and work in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and to make one of the most iconic products in the world, Scotch whisky.
“We are delighted to work with our fellow distillers to welcome visitors to the Hebrides and to offer them the very best in Scottish hospitality.”
Speaking of the increasing importance of whisky tourism to Scotland’s economy and rural communities, Betts added: "In 2017, there were 1.9 million visits to Scotch Whisky distilleries in our iconic whisky regions from all over the world, spending £61 million in the rural economy. “
“I’m sure visitors to our new Hebridean whisky trail will find the combination of beautiful landscapes, a friendly welcome and outstanding whisky a uniquely memorable experience.”