Isle of Raasay celebrates Scots makar with whisky

by Owen Bellwood

The Isle of Raasay Distillery has bottled a single cask Scotch whisky to mark the end of poet Jackie Kay’s tenure as Scots makar, and will donate a portion of sales to charity.

Kay, who has held the position of Scots makar and national poet of Scotland since 2016, is the third makar to have been appointed by the Scottish government. To mark her departure from the role, the Isle of Raasay Distillery has created a single cask whisky to commemorate her work. The Makar’s Malt whisky is bottled at 53.2% ABV and is limited to 375 bottles, which each feature a poem written by Kay called Here’s Tae Ye! on the label. The collaboration between Isle of Raasay Distillery and Kay was arranged by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA, added: “We’ve been delighted to work with Jackie on the Makar’s Malt, which is a fabulous celebration of poetry and whisky – both of which are central to Scotland’s identity, and to its past, present and future. “In what has been a difficult 12 months for so many people, as well as for distillers, this is good news to enjoy. "I hope it will inspire people to visit our Hebridean distilleries, of which the Isle of Raasay Distillery is one, when they are able to once the pandemic has eased. They will not be disappointed – by the whisky, poetry nor the views.” Priced at £75 (US$104) per 700ml bottle, 10% from the sale of each bottle will be donated to Glasgow Women’s Library, which in addition to being a lending library is also an archive about women’s lives dating back to the 1930s. Scotland’s Isle of Raasay Distillery unveiled its inaugural single malt whisky last year.