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TORABHAIG DISTILLERY, Skye

Torabhaig is another of the traditional farm steading-turned distillery projects cropping up across Scotland in recent years, though its output is significantly larger than many of its peers.

Skye’s second distillery is configured to produce a traditional island-style malt whisky – medium-weight and medium-peated with a long fermentation in wooden washbacks and plenty of copper interaction providing a fruit-forward spirit.

Every drop of its spirit will be earmarked for bottling as a single malt to begin with, though expect to see some siphoned off for blending further down the line.

Sir Iain Noble, the man who founded Noble Grossart, Scotland’s first modern merchant bank, moved to the Isle of Skye in 1972. He purchased 20,000 acres of land, including a hotel at Isle Ornsay, which had been part of Lord Macdonald’s estate.

Noble – who founded independent blender and bottler Pràban na Linne (Gaelic Whiskies) in 1976 – planned to convert a 19th century listed farm steading at Torabhaig into a distillery. He’d obtained planning permission for the project as early as 2002, though sadly passed away in 2010 before his plans could be realised.

Around the time of his death, Mossburn Distillers, a subsidiary of Dutch drinks group Marussia Beverages BV, was also seeking a site on the island to build its own distillery. While the group hadn’t previously considered the renovation and preservation of a historic building for its project, Noble’s Torabhaig farm steading proved the perfect location.

Mossburn set to work renovating the property, which had become little more than a ruin, in 2013. The steading’s infrastructure took three years to rebuild, while a bespoke removable slate roof was designed to allow access to the two stills for repairs.

Whisky production is due to commence at the distillery in early 2017, though a small visitor’s centre complete with café and retail shop will open to the public from July 2017.

TORABHAIG FACTS
CAPACITY (MLPA) i
0.5
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
90 hours
FILLING STRENGTH i
64% abv
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
1.5
HEAT SOURCE i
Steam
MALT SPECIFICATION i
50ppm
MALT SUPPLIER i
Simpson’s
MASH TUN TYPE i
Semi-lauter
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
72% abv
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
100% at opening
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Bulb
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
5,000
STILLS i
2
WAREHOUSING i
90% palletised; 10% dunnage
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Bulb
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
8,000
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
8,000
WASHBACK TYPE i
Douglas Fir
WASHBACKS i
8
WATER SOURCE i
Allt Gleann Thorabhaig and the Allt Breacach
WORT CLARITY i
Clear
YEAST TYPE i
Dried
OWNERS
Marussia Beverages logo
PARENT COMPANY
Marussia Beverages
CURRENT OWNER
Mossburn Distillers



TORABHAIG DISTILLERY
ISLANDS SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Torabhaig is another of the traditional farm steading-turned distillery projects cropping up across Scotland in recent years, though its output is significantly larger than many of its peers.

Skye’s second distillery is configured to produce a traditional island-style malt whisky – medium-weight and medium-peated with a long fermentation in wooden washbacks and plenty of copper interaction providing a fruit-forward spirit.

Every drop of its spirit will be earmarked for bottling as a single malt to begin with, though expect to see some siphoned off for blending further down the line.

Sir Iain Noble, the man who founded Noble Grossart, Scotland’s first modern merchant bank, moved to the Isle of Skye in 1972. He purchased 20,000 acres of land, including a hotel at Isle Ornsay, which had been part of Lord Macdonald’s estate.

Noble – who founded independent blender and bottler Pràban na Linne (Gaelic Whiskies) in 1976 – planned to convert a 19th century listed farm steading at Torabhaig into a distillery. He’d obtained planning permission for the project as early as 2002, though sadly passed away in 2010 before his plans could be realised.

Around the time of his death, Mossburn Distillers, a subsidiary of Dutch drinks group Marussia Beverages BV, was also seeking a site on the island to build its own distillery. While the group hadn’t previously considered the renovation and preservation of a historic building for its project, Noble’s Torabhaig farm steading proved the perfect location.

Mossburn set to work renovating the property, which had become little more than a ruin, in 2013. The steading’s infrastructure took three years to rebuild, while a bespoke removable slate roof was designed to allow access to the two stills for repairs.

Whisky production is due to commence at the distillery in early 2017, though a small visitor’s centre complete with café and retail shop will open to the public from July 2017.

CAPACITY (MLPA) i
0.5
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
90 hours
FILLING STRENGTH i
64% abv
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
1.5
HEAT SOURCE i
Steam
MALT SPECIFICATION i
50ppm
MALT SUPPLIER i
Simpson’s
MASH TUN TYPE i
Semi-lauter
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
72% abv
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
100% at opening
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Bulb
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
5,000
STILLS i
2
WAREHOUSING i
90% palletised; 10% dunnage
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Bulb
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
8,000
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
8,000
WASHBACK TYPE i
Douglas Fir
WASHBACKS i
8
WATER SOURCE i
Allt Gleann Thorabhaig and the Allt Breacach
WORT CLARITY i
Clear
YEAST TYPE i
Dried
OWNERS
Marussia Beverages logo
PARENT COMPANY
Marussia Beverages
CURRENT OWNER
Mossburn Distillers

Black Ship
BRAND
Blended Scotch whisky produced by Marussia Beverages that was named after a great Scottish warship.

Named after a giant Scottish warship – that was sold to the French after just two years of being built – Black Ship blended Scotch was introduced almost 450 years after its demise.

Available as a no-age-statement and five-year-old, Black Ship was a blend of ‘a good quantity’ of Highland and Island malt whiskies and grain whisky, described as being ‘smooth and mellow’ with a ‘touch of smokiness on the finish’.

Pitched as a ‘great mixer’, both expressions were bottled at 40% abv.

Blended Scotch
BLACK SHIP HISTORY
This modern-day blended Scotch was named after the Great Michael, also known as the Black Ship, the most famous Scottish battleship of the early 16th century. It was completed in 1512 having consumed every wood in Fife during construction, and was the largest warship in Europe – twice the size of her English contemporary, the Mary Rose.

However her size became her downfall, and The Black Ship soon proved too expensive to maintain. She was sold at a knockdown price to the French crown in 1514 (and quite possibly used under a French pseudonym to sink the Mary Rose in the Battle of the Solent).

In the 1990s, Dutch drinks group Marussia Beverages introduced Black Ship blended Scotch whisky alongside a handful of other blended Scotch brands.

In 2013 the company established Mossburn Distillers, which was tasked with overseeing the group’s plans to establish distilleries in Skye, the Borders and Japan.

As such, focus was centred on the new projects and Black Ship – along with Marussia’s other Scotch blends – was discontinued. That’s not to say it won’t resurface in the distant future.
Marussia Beverages

DISTILLER & BLENDER
Dutch producer and distributor of wine and spirits, and owner of the UK’s Mossburn Distillers.

MARUSSIA BEVERAGES
Based in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, Marussia Beverages BV is a producer and distributor of wines and spirits, with subsidiaries in the UK, US, Russia, France, Georgia and Ukraine. Its brands, which include Marmont vodka and the Black Ship blended Scotch, are distributed across 31 countries around the world.

Its UK subsidiary is also owner of Mossburn Distillers, the company behind Torabhaig distillery on Skye and two malt and grain distilleries in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. It also owns a malt distillery at the Asahi brewery in Japan.

Marussia Beverages BV is a holding company for privately owned Swedish group Haydn Holding AB.

MARUSSIA BEVERAGES HISTORY
Founded in 2005, Marussia Beverages BV gradually expanded to specialise in importing and distributing wine and spirits across the world. The company works closely with many independent distillers, covering all sectors of the spirits industry

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