Whisky Review: Torabhaig Allt Gleann

, | March 20, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Torabhaig Distillery. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

A relative newcomer to the whisky scene, Torabhaig Distillery is only the second distillery built on the Isle of Skye in the western side of Scotland. Their second single malt release, Torabhaig Allt Gleann, is named for one of the spring water burns (streams) that feed the distillery. A 19th century farmstead houses the distillery, nestled in a small bay along the southeastern coast of Skye. Sir Ian Noble, a merchant banker with a deep love of the region, originally planned the distillery.

Mossburn Distillers took up the project after Noble’s passing. Construction and restorations were completed in January 2017. Careful consideration was made for the original building and masonry, which included building a removable slate roof to allow access to the stills for repairs or replacement. Today, production clocks in at approximately 1.5 million bottles per year.

To quote the bottle, Torabhaig Allt Gleann, which is part of the brand’s Legacy Series, is produced from no more than 30 barrels distilled and put into casks in 2017 and 2018. The malt is a blend of two varieties, concerto (one of the UK’s most widely grown varieties in 2017 per McCreath Simpson & Prentice, a division of Torabhaig’s malt suppliers Simpsons Malt) and laureate (a variety that has since overtaken concerto).

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Fermentation takes place in traditional Douglas fir washbacks before distillation in twin copper stills. The whisky was non 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, though it suggests moderation and refinement, which is certainly reflected in the glass.

Released in December 2021, the Torabhaig Allt Gleann  is an impressive sophomore spirit reminiscent of a more delicate Islay, such as Coal Ila. This is fruit-forward with none of the more industrial notes that can be an acquired taste in peated island whiskies. If this is what is meant by well-tempered, than mission accomplished. Unlike the first release, which sold out quickly, this second of the series will be released in four batches in 2021 and 2022.

Torabhaig Alt Gleann review

Torabhaig Alt Gleann (image via Torabhaig)

Tasting Notes: Torabhaig Allt Gleann

Vital stats: Distilled in 2017 and 2018, aged in first-fill bourbon and re-fill whisky barrels, 46% ABV, mash bill: 100% malted barley (Concerto and Laureate), SRP $62 per bottle. Isle of Skye, Scotland

Appearance: The whisky is a very pale yellow with hints of green.

Nose: Opens with moderately intense aromas of cornhusks, steamed peas, hay, and sea spray. Its nose is pleasant with a hint of iodine and burnt paper.

Palate: In the mouth, the spiciness gives the whisky an ethereal impression. A splash of water turns the body silky. There’s a lively flavor of matcha green tea and apple skins that carries through the lightly bitter finish.

4

Summary

The Torabhaig Allt Gleann The Legacy Series is appealing and complex. Although a splash of water rounded the spiciness, I preferred the whisky neat. This would be an excellent peated whisky for those that prefer to avoid some of the harsher, industrial, and more confounding characteristics of peat. This is a distillery to watch. Mark your calendar for their first ten-year single malt being released in 2028.

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Suzanne Bayard

Suzanne Bayard struck out to the West Coast with her now husband almost a decade ago to explore the intersection of wine and policy in its world-class wine regions. She manages a Portland, OR bottle shop by day as the wine buyer and newsletter editor. She is also the Director...