Peter Ranscombe takes a sneak peak at Torabhaig distillery’s maiden whisky ahead of its release tomorrow.
WHEN it comes to whisky, some locations and some distilleries go together like a horse and carriage – or maybe like a cask and bung.
Think Orkney, think Highland Park (sorry Scapa!).
Think Campbeltown, think Springbank (sorry again Glen Scotia and Glengyle!!).
Think Skye, think Talisker, Diageo’s all-conquering single malt… until now, because there’s a new kid on the island.
Tomorrow, Torabhaig distillery at Teangue on the south shore of Skye will unveil its maiden single malt.
It’s the first bottle in the distillery’s legacy series, with plans to release a further three limited edition whiskies before the 10 year old makes its debut in 2028.
I admire the idea of laying out a timeline like that – I know other young distilleries have had to chop and change their plans depending on how their spirits are ageing, so it’ll be interesting to watch Torabhaig’s progress towards the end of the decade.
In the meantime, I’d recommend diving straight into this first example from the distillery.
The aromas from the Torabhaig Legacy Series 2017 Inaugural Release (£50, independent whisky shops) really leap from the glass – the peat and TCP notes are warm and inviting, and certainly don’t mask the sweet honey and vanilla touches, or the lemony twist.
On the palate, there’s a meatiness from the peat, but it’s the sweeter notes that are the stars of the show, with brown sugar, caramel, and richer toffee.
There’s a great balance to the whisky, even neat, with excellent control of the peat so that it doesn’t become too heavy.
It’s a very promising start for a new distillery.
A sneak peak at a single cask bottling was equally as impressive; its pale amber colour – in contrast to the lemon hue of the 2017 inaugural release – led into less obvious peat on the nose, with more of the citrus and salted almond notes coming to the fore.
It was much chewier and more textured on the palate, with the 61.7% cask strength heat far more prominent than the 46% in the standard bottling.
Yet it was the fruiter notes from the single cask that really caught my attention – a redcurrant here, a blackberry there – with more of the brine-like finish on show too.
With whiskies like these, Torabhaig is certainly one to watch.
Read more of Peter’s whisky, beer, and wine reviews on his drinks blog, The Grape & The Grain.