Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Review / Torabhaig Allt Gleann Batch Strength

This whisky is the latest limited edition single malt whisky to be released from the Hebridean distillery of  Torabhaig (pronounced tora-vaig). the newest distillery on the isle of Skye. The Torabhaig Allt Gleann Batch Strength is a cask strength version of their popular Allt Gleann bottling, which was first released in 2021. Allt Gleann translates as 'old glen' from the local Gaelic dialect. The whiskies featured in Batch Strength were distilled in 2017 and 2018, and filled to ex-bourbon barrels. It forms part of The Legacy Series alongside the original Allt Gleann expression and other bottlings. Torabhaig Allt Gleann Batch Strength is released at 61.1% ABV and will be available in selected world markets, plus at the distillery shop on Skye. A bottle will cost £75/ €85/ $US89.  

The Torabhaig distillery was founded in 2016 by Mossburn Distillers. It is housed in old farm buildings dating back to the 1820s and located in the village of Sleat on the south western tip of Skye. Production started in January 2017 and the visitor centre opened a year later in March 2018. They use barley peated to level of 55-60ppm (phenol parts per per million), which puts it on par with some of the heavier Islay malts. Batch Strength features barley with a higher level of 78ppm in the barley. The annual capacity is half a million litres, but they are currently operating around the 400,000 litre mark.

Our Tasting Notes

The colour is vibrant pale gold and the nose is a mix of sweet and smoky aromas. The peat smoke feels sooty and shy, while the sweetness is confected. Aromas of damp moss, dried grass and bonfire embers mingle with marshmallow, honey and vanilla icing sugar. Something mineralic also sits in the background.

On the palate this whisky feels instantly oily in texture and mineralic in feel. The smoky and peaty notes are to the fore and dominate early proceedings. There are plenty of charred and sooty notes. They are supported by dying bonfire embers, hot charcoal, damp moss and dried hay or grass. There are also softer smoky notes in the background, which are reminscent of burnt heather.

Some much needed sweetness battles through the smoke and provides some welcome balance. The confected notes from the nose are evident, especially the icing sugar and marshmallow, and are joined by some lovely butterscotch and heather honey characteristics. There is also a good shot of vanilla essence and this seems to bind the elements together. A late hit of white pepper gives further power, as does some tart green apple.

The finish is spiky, hot and spicy. The white pepper increases and is joined by some green chilli-like heat. The sweet characteristics go rapidly to leave the mineralic, spicy and peaty notes to do battle. This gives you plenty to think about as the finish becomes incresingly dry, ash and hot.

What's The Verdict?

This Batch Strength version of the Torabhaig Allt Gleann certainly packs a seriously peaty punch. It is youthful and full on, but with plenty of character and potential. Torabhaig is one of the new artisanal distilleries in Scotland that is on our radar and the couple of whiskies that we have tried to date have not disappointed. It will be interesting to see what a bit of extra age and time in oak does to these whiskies. We look forward to finding out.

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