Torabhaig’s first malt now on sale

PHOTO: Torabhaig Distillery

Malt whisky from Skye’s newest distillery goes on sale from today (Friday 19th February).

Torabhaig is the first whisky distillery to be built on the island in 190 years and its product marks a rare new arrival to the peated single malt market.

Torabhaig Legacy Series 2017, bottled at 46 per cent, is the first expression from the Torabhaig team and is strictly limited by number. Selling from around £50 a bottle, the new dram will be available to purchase throughout the UK (and online) this Friday – with some retailers limiting bottles to one per household and others operating on a purely first come, first served basis.

The production team at the distillery have been fully operational since January 2017 and blend traditional and contemporary approaches to distilling.

Neil Mathieson, chief executive at Mossburn Distillers, the company behind Torabhaig said: “This ‘Legacy’ series will lay down the foundations for the future profile of our bottled whisky and with each edition we will guide your journey with details on the barley, yeast and casks on the back label of the bottle.

“For the first, the 2017, we selected only 100 barrels from our first quarter’s distillation, the spirit having been aged solely in Bourbon barrels that we shipped directly ourselves from the Kentucky distillery, the day they were emptied.”

Mr Mathieson added: “What’s three or four years to a whisky maker when traditionally we are ageing spirit for up to 25 years or longer to see the effect of ageing and barrel choices? Here at Torabhaig, we had to start at the very beginning with looking at the peating levels of our malted barley, the barley varieties themselves and the effect of the harvest.

“We followed this by experimenting with yeasts and examining how our mashing and distilling processes could produce different flavours as we adjusted the model. We then had to anticipate the ageing cycle in different cask sizes and types and regularly taste the spirits as they developed, in order to choose which batches would represent us at the relatively youthful ages of our first bottlings.

“This process has produced the first of four bottlings which will straddle Torabhaig’s formative years until they have Torabhaig Single Malt Whisky that has aged ten years in barrel that is to be released in 2028.”

The very first Torabhaig bottles were auctioned recently, raising £4,715 for two Skye charities.

The proceeds go to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Development Trust and the Friends of Dr Mackinnon Memorial Hospital.

Locals will be able to buy a bottle of Torabhaig through the Misty Bottle, Aros, An Crùbh and Armadale Stores – when they open their new shop later this month.

To mark the release date, we have one of the first bottles to give away to a lucky West Highland Free Press reader. So for a chance to own one of the first bottles of Torabhaig, follow the instructions on the WHFP social media channels tomorrow (Friday 19th February).