Torabhaig is the second distillery on Skye, after Talisker. As in, it’s not the second distillery ever, but it is currently. It’s been operational for a few years now and early this year the initial release came out, which I rather of liked.
It’s a dram that offers a similar character to Talisker, without tasting too young. I like Talisker, so that’s not a bad thing. And while it’s a rather solid dram, especially for something that’s just three years old, it also feels a little bit uninspired.
That sounds very negative, and it certainly isn’t positive. It’s not too bad either. It’s better to steal well than to invent bad, or something. What I mean by it is that they took the easy choice and copy a popular distillery’s style.
Still, a very solid dram, for a three year old. Especially at the price it went for.
Now there’s this one, which also uses refill bourbon casks and not just first fill ones like the inaugural release. Other than that, it should be rather similar.
A spirity sweetness with hints of vanilla and grass. Marram grass, and a bit of a coastal smokiness. A light custard style sweetness, with a whiff of pepper and oak.
The palate brings the pepper to the frond, although it’s still rather sweet. Lots of vanilla and custard notes, with a bit of an apple crumble backdrop. Slightly green with notes of hay and grass. The salinity of the coastal note is present, but far to the back.
The finish is different again. Not inconsistent, just different. Still rather sweet with lots of apple crumble and vanilla custard, but the pepper makes way for a more oak focused flavor.
Of course, I didn’t compare the whiskies since the first one is long gone. However, based on memory and tasting notes, I find this one a bit more sweet than the first. There are similarities, in the fact that it’s slightly smoky and rather coastal. That sweetness is something I don’t really like though. It’s easy and everyone’s friend, but it’s also not very idiosyncratic.
So, all in all, a nice dram and certainly not a bad one, but I do think they need to carve out their own niche a bit more, because the € 35 Talisker 10 trumps this € 60 Torabhaig.