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Torabhaig expands Legacy Series

Isle of Skye-based Torabhaig Distillery has released the latest expression in its Legacy Series, marking the first time the brand has used Sherry casks.

Torabhaig Cnoc Na Moine
Cnoc Na Mòine is the third whisky in Torabhaig’s Legacy Series

Cnoc Na Mòine (Gaelic for ‘hill of peat) is the third bottling in the distillery’s Legacy Series, which charts the brand’s journey to a 10-year-old expression and its efforts to establish a future flagship expression.

The bottling’s name pays homage to the distillery’s home on the Isle of Skye, which is the inspiration for the whisky.

For its latest release, Torabhaig used a combination of Pedro Ximenéz and oloroso Sherry-seasoned casks. The 46% ABV expression is the distillery’s first release that includes single malt matured in Sherry casks. Made with concerto malted barley, it is non-chill-filtered and bottled at natural colour.

The nose offers notes of orange peel with peat smoke, vanilla and oak. The palate carries flavours of pepper, balsamic acidity and gentle spice alongside cedar and leather.

Whisky maker Neil Macleod Mathieson said the idea behind the Legacy range was to illustrate “what we can produce, not dictating what the core SKU will taste like”.

The series will allow drinkers to follow the journey of the liquid from Torabhaig and its flavours before the core expression is released at the end of this decade.

“What we’re looking to do is take the oak element from old casks, lovely vanilla and toffee from Bourbon casks, and dried fruits from seasoned casks,” Mathieson explained. “The industry uses a lot of oloroso, but we were looking for a lighter touch on the dried fruit, marry with our smoke and not fight with it.”

Torabhaig is operated by Mossburn Distillers, which was founded by Mathieson who has worked in the spirits sector for 40 years.

Mathieson hopes for a “good response” to the new whisky and is already working on releases for 2025. “Blending is a year-long operation,” he noted. “Within Mossburn Distllers, we have Torabhaig and our branded side, which is where we’re looking at bringing out something with the older stock.”

Cnoc Na Mòine follows the launch of Torabhaig’s inaugural release, Torabhaig 2017 – The Legacy Series, alongside Torabhaig Allt Gleann and Torabhaig Allt Glean Batch Strength.

Mathieson added: “We hope to introduce between five and seven stops in the Legacy journey before we get to the core SKU.”

Cnoc Na Mòine is priced at £58 (US$70) and available to buy from The Whisky Shop and specialist retailers. There are 90,000 bottles available globally.

Looking to the future, Mathieson said the distillery would lay down a number of Madeira and virgin oak casks (both European and other varieties). The distillery produces 500,000 litres of pure alcohol a year and has 20,000-plus barrels.

The distillery is also experimenting with different barley strains, including heritage grain. “We experiment all the time. For one month of the year we have an experimental month; I get all the distillers to make their own whisky,” said Mathieson.

The site is currently in the process of converting from oil use to gas, to power the distillery as part of its sustainability efforts.

The first new distillery on the Isle of Skye in 190 years, Torabhaig started distillation in 2017 and is one of only two single malt distilleries on the Scottish island.

In February 2022, Mossburn Distillers revealed a new ‘approachable’ whisky brand, called Caisteal Chamuis.

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