R&B Distillers Launch Two Whiskies a Single Malt and Grain Malt

R&B Distillers Logo

R&B Distillers, an exciting new whisky brand, launched two new premium whiskies on Monday 7th December 2015. They kindly invited a few members of the team at Alcohol Emporium to join them at the event.

Summary of the event

revered jw simpson bar logo

The event was hosted at Reverend JW Simpson. Created by the people behind Bourne and Hollingsworth, Rev JW Simpson is a unique and discreet cocktail bar on Goodge Street. This basement space was apparently, home to a vicar until the late 1980s and the bar is named after him. Reverend JW Simpson still retains the original room dividers, wall coverings, flooring and tiles, subtly exposing the former building’s kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom.

Various members of the press and other whisky aficionados were also invited along to the whisky launch, and the evening agenda consisted of;

  • Introduction and talk by Alasdair Day co-founder of R&B Distillery
  • Neat whisky tasting of ‘While We Wait’ & ‘Borders’
  • Sampling of 2 x cocktails made using the above whiskies
  • Alcohol Emporium also managed to get an exclusive interview with Alasdair.

Overview of R&B Distillery, The Owners & The Brands

Meet the owners

Alasdair Day

R&B Distillery is owned by Alasdair Day and business partner Bill Dobbie. Bill, unfortunately wasn’t present at the launch. Since graduating from Glasgow University Alasdair has spent 25 years in the food industry, at companies in Scotland and Southern England such as Kettle Produce Ltd, The First Milk Cheese Company Ltd, & Blue Prince Mushrooms.  It was Alasdair’s great grandfather’s cellar book which dated back to 1899 and listed all the whiskies he had created, that inspired him to take on a new direction in making hand crafted whisky.

Firmly ingrained in family history whilst simultaneously being a taste of the brand’s evolving future, Raasay While We Wait and Borders, two distinct and characterful whiskies, will mark a new chapter for R&B. The company produces three whiskies, the third being The Tweeddale Blend (Batch 4). Released in October 2013 it is an award winning, small batch, limited addition (1420 numbered bottles) blended Scotch whisky aged 14 years. Just like ‘Borders’, this whisky is also an unusual 50/50 blend of grain and malt.

R&B stands for ‘Raasay’ and ‘Borders’, two distinct landscapes brought together through one unique whisky company. Co-founder Alasdair Day embodies this coupling. His great grandfather Allan MacDonald, hailed from the Hebrides, while his other great grandfather Richard Day 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 distilleries at these twin roots in the Isle of Raasay and the Scottish Borders

Raasay Distillery

R&B Distillers are building the first legal distillery to Raasay in the Inner Hebrides lying in the shadow of Dùn Caan. This location has in the past been a haven for illicit distilling, but that is about to change next year (2016).  While the distillery is being built, R&B Distillers have released the aptly named While We Wait whisky, a preview of the calibre and flavour of whisky yet to come – every sip certain to transport the drinker to the rugged volcanic island of Raasay.

Borders Distillery

Having not yet been built, the company has taken the unique approach to crowd-sourcing opinion on where the Borders distillery should be built. It is only very recently that the choice was made for the distilleries’ new home to be at Peebles, as selected by the Scottish general public. This will be the first Borders distillery since 1837.

The Whiskies

R&B Distillery have brought together two expressions from one distillery: one peated, one unpeated.

two whisky canisters

‘While We Wait’ Whisky

Raasay While We Wait, is a single malt whisky. This precise combination is a tantalising prediction of the flavours that will be produced at the new distillery on the Isle of Rasaay. 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.

‘While We Wait’ tasting notes;

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, and of course haggis.

ABV: 46% Non-Chill Filtered

Year released: November 2015 – 1st Release Limited Edition

Calories: Roughly 78 per one 35ml shot


Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

Old fashioned Cocktail image


  • 2 shots of Borders Whisky
  • Dash of bitters
  • Dash of sugar
  • Serve in a tumbler with a slide of orange peel.


Alcohol Emporium Review:

In the glass:

This whisky was obviously the darker and stronger of the two whiskies, and the difference could be seen even when comparing colour side by side.

On the nose:

A much smokier, woody, earthy scent.

On the palate:

The taste on the palate is certainly more fiery than Borders, the burn dwells for a lot longer

Final thought:

Although other participants in the tasting preferred the Borders version, there was agreement that this certainly has its place on a dark winter’s night, being sipped by an open fire place. The fiery heat of this whisky instantly warms you!


‘Borders’ Whisky

The Borders whisky echoes the soft rolling landscape of its future location in the South of Scotland. This single grain whisky is an unusual blend of 50% wheat and 50% malted barley, it is lighter and softer in flavour than the smoky peat dram of While We Wait. Matured in bourbon casks and finished in Oloroso sherry casks, Borders has been produced to reflect a lowland style.

Borders tasting notes;

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.

ABV: 51.7% Non-Chill Filtered

Caramel free

Year released: November 2015 – 1st Release Limited Edition

Calories: Roughly 78 per one 35ml shot


Whisky Smash Cocktail Recipe

whisky smash cocktails and candle


  • 2 shots of Borders Whisky
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Dash of sugar
  • Serve in a tumbler over crushed ice with a slide of lemon and mint to garnish

Alcohol Emporium Review:

In the glass:

The lighter colour difference is very apparent when holding both whiskies next to one another, this being the lightest.

dark and light whisky

On the nose:

Clear scents of sherry muster a Christmassy sensation.

On the palate:

The taste on the palate is relatively short lived for a whisky. Far from the usual warmth of a whisky, this leaves more of a fresh minty sensation on the throat.

Final thought:

Based on discussion with others at the event, this was a clear winner for favourite of the two whiskies


How much do the whiskies cost?

While We Wait, priced at £56.85 and Borders priced at £49.98 will be available to buy directly from the R&B Distillers website.

Other UK online and high-street retailers who have jumped at the chance to supply these whiskies are,

  • Master of Malt (online)
  • Whiski Rooms (Edinburgh shop)
  • Oban Whisky & Fine Wines (Oban)
  • Shop4Whisky (online)
  • JL Gill (Crieff)
  • Royal Mile Whiskies (Edinburgh & online)
  • Raasay Community Store (Raasay)
  • Jeffrey Street Whisky & Tobacco (Edinburgh)
  • The Whisky Shop (Dufftown)
  • Mainstreet Trading Co. (St Boswells, Scottish Borders)
  • Oblo Bar (Eyemouth, Scottish Borders)

Currently Alcohol Emporium will not be supplying either of the whiskies, but check out our extensive range of other quality whisky

Whisky Club

R&B Distillers also are unveiling an exclusive membership offer to their Na Tùsairean club (Scots Gaelic for ‘The Pioneers’)  Any whisky aficionados dream!  The inaugural 100 casks of Raasay whisky will be bottled exclusively for Na Tùsairean members who will receive one bottle each year for ten 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. All this for a membership cost of £599.00!

For those of you feeling the pinch at this time of year, they also have a FREE club membership to the Slàinte Club whisky community.

Perks include:

  • R&B Distillers news & updates
  • Member-exclusive offers & discounts
  • The chance to pre-order our whiskies before anyone else

Either of these whiskies would make great Christmas presents for a whisky lover or why not get a bottle to celebrate Hogmanay on 31st December or Burns night on 26th January.

There is no doubt these two new whiskies will be racking up the awards just as their Tweeddale blended Scotch Whisky has;

  • Liquid Gold Award – Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015, 2014 & 2013
  • Best Scotch Blended – 12 years and under – World Whiskies Award 2013
  • World Whiskies Awards 2014 Silver medal blended Scotch 13 to 20 years.
  • Whiskies of the World Awards Silver Medal 2014
  • IWSC 2014 BRONZE AWARDS – International Wine & Spirits Competition

Exclusive interview with Alasdair at the launch

To keep updated on Alasdair and R&B Distillers visit;


For the latest alcohol launches we have attended, check out



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