Scots makar Jackie Kay (Scotland’s national poet) has been honoured by production of a new malt whisky produced by Isle of Raasay Distillery.
An island distillery has produced a limited edition single cask malt Scotch whisky for International Women’s Day to mark the end of a celebrated poet’s tenure as The Scots Makar.
Isle of Raasay Distillery in the Inner Hebrides was selected by the Makar (National Poet of Scotland) Jackie Kay to create and bottle the malt, following a tender process arranged by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
And this resulted in The Makar’s Malt, which also comes complete with a specially-written poem by Jackie, “Here’s Tae Ye!” which will feature on the bottle’s label.
The Makar’s Malt is a limited edition of 327 bottles and for every one sold, 10% will be donated to Glasgow Women’s Library, a charity chosen by Jackie Kay.
Alasdair Day, co-founder of Isle of Raasay Distillery said: “It is particularly poignant that we are celebrating Jackie Kay’s outstanding tenure as Scots Makar on International Women’s Day with a single cask bottling from the Isle of Raasay, birthplace of the late Gaelic poet, Sorley MacLean.
“The Isle of Raasay Distillery are very proud to be the first distillery chosen to work with The Scots Makar on this historic single cask release – a fruity, lightly peated dram that has been matured in one of our signature first fill Bordeaux red wine casks.”
Makar Jackie said: “I am so delighted to raise a glass of my very own malt to all the women that have made my life possible on March the 8th, International Women’s Day. It is a dream dram come true for me, making some kind of alchemy. Poetry and whisky.”
Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA said: “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!
“It’s also a pleasure to see this first Makar’s Malt released on International Women’s Day – a day on which we are celebrating the progress our industry is making to promote equality, diversity and inclusion, and to remind people everywhere that whisky is for everyone, whether you want to come and work with us or to simply enjoy a dram.”
The Makar’s Malt has been released in what is hoped will be the start of a new tradition for future Scots Makars.
Jackie Kay is the third Makar to have been appointed by the Scottish Government in 2016, her tenure ending in March 2021.
Makar’s Malt Poem
Here’s Tae Ye
I raise my glass, my dear,
Wherever you now are,
North, south, east or west
Under the nearest or furthest star
There’s love in this wee dram,
In the purest form
To greet you my fiere, my jo,
Nippy, heathery, warm.