Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the Torabhaig Distillery. This in no case, by our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the purchase link at the bottom of this review, our site receives a small sponsorship payment which helps support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Relatively new to the whiskey scene, the Torabhaig Distillery is only the second distillery to be built on the Isle of Skye in the west of Scotland. Their second single malt, Torabhaig Allt Gleann, is named after one of the spring water sources (streams) that feed the distillery. A 19and century farmhouse is home to the distillery, nestled in a small bay along the southeast coast of Skye. Sir Ian Noble, an investment banker with a love for the region, originally designed the distillery.
Mossburn Distillers took over the project after Noble’s death. Construction and restorations were completed in January 2017. Careful attention was paid to the original building and masonry, which included the construction of a removable slate roof to allow access to the stills for repairs or replacement. Today, production amounts to approximately 1.5 million bottles per year.
To quote the bottle, Torabhaig Allt Gleann, part of the brand’s Legacy series, is produced from no more than 30 barrels distilled and casked in 2017 and 2018. The malt is a blend of two varieties, concerto (one of the UK’s most grown varieties of 2017 by McCreath Simpson & Prentice, a division of Torabhaig Simpsons Malt’s malt suppliers) and winner (a variety that has since surpassed concerto).
Fermentation takes place in traditional Douglas washbacks before distillation in twin copper pot stills. The whiskey has not been chill filtered and bottled without added coloring. The distillery describes the peat influence as “well-tempered”. What is well-tempered peat? No explanation is provided, although it suggests moderation and refinement, which is certainly reflected in the glass.
Released in December 2021, Torabhaig Allt Gleann is an impressive sophomore spirit reminiscent of a more delicate Islay, like Coal Ila. It’s fruity without any of the more industrial notes that can be an acquired taste in peated island whiskies. If that’s what you mean by tough, then mission accomplished. Unlike the first version, which sold out quickly, this second in the series will be released in four batches in 2021 and 2022.
Tasting Notes: Torabhaig Allt Gleann
Vital Stats: Distilled 2017 & 2018, aged in first-fill and top-fill whiskey bourbon casks, 46% ABV, mash bill: 100% malted barley (Concerto and Laureate), SRP $62 per bottle. Isle of Skye, Scotland
Appearance: The whiskey is a very pale yellow with green highlights.
Nose: Opens with moderately intense aromas of corn husks, steamed peas, hay and sea spray. Its nose is pleasant with a hint of iodine and burnt paper.
Palace: In the mouth, the spiciness gives the whiskey an airy impression. A splash of water makes the body silky. There’s a lively flavor of matcha green tea and apple skins that carries over into the slightly bitter finish.