So, I assume by now you’ve heard of Torabhaig. This distillery’s inaugural release has been out for a few weeks. And flipped like there’s now tomorrow, even though they’ve released about 32,000 bottles. But rather than discussing the state of today’s secondary market, we’ll instead talk about my own personal experience with the distillery. Which was… meh.
I visited the distillery in 2018 during a long summer vacation in Scotland. In short: it wasn’t the best distillery visit I’ve ever done. To be totally honest, I’ve blocked most of it out. It wasn’t worth writing about, which is why you haven’t read about Torabhaig on this blog before. But now that the distillery has released their first ever whisky as part of their Legacy Series, and there’s actually something to taste, there’s no delaying an article about Torabhaig. And I can’t not mention my distillery visit.
The whole experience just wasn’t worth remembering and the tour guide was 100% to blame. This older gentleman clearly could not believe anyone beside him would know much about single malt production. And it’s not like I was correcting him every step of the way or even asking very nerdy questions. You know the type, they can be highly annoying. I’d never sabotage a tour guide like that. This guy was perfectly capable of doing so himself. He made me feel like a total arse for asking simple questions, like if it would be possible to try the wash or new make spirit. It was a lesson in how not to be a tour guide.
Anyway, I’m not one to hold a grudge, so I’ll approach the distillery’s first release with an open mind. After all, it’s the only single malt available from Isle of Skye besides Talisker, so that’s a big deal.
Torabhaig 2017 Inaugural Release (46%, OB, 2021)
Nose: A slight hint of rubber and iodine, but mostly gentle peat, some baking spices and creamy vanilla. There’s a whisper of burlap, tobacco leaves and hemp rope as well. Fairly coastal. Taste: A decent oiliness. The arrival is fairly ashy with a good amount of wood smoke, a nice salinity. The iodine makes an encore as well. Touches of freshly cut grass and vanilla, but also some subtle fruits. Lemon pith and lychees. Finish: Peanut skins, lingering smoke and a pinch of salt. Slightly dry.
It’s no rival for its neighbour yet, but the Isle of Skye certainly gained an asset in Torabhaig. There’s really nothing to fault here, especially as this single malt is still in its infancy.