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WE ARE TORABHAIG
The Distillery at Torabhaig is the second ever licenced Single Malt Scotch Whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye. The Excise Act of 1823 first sanctioned legal whisky distilling in Scotland almost 200 years ago, with the first licence on Skye being granted not long thereafter, so one could say it was about time.
Single Malt Scotch Whisky is inextricably linked to its place of origin, perhaps more so than any other product. The water, the land, the climate, all play a role in the character of the whisky. All these factors are also vitally important in planning a new distillery. Simply put, you cannot just build a distillery anywhere.
Some time ago, we identified the old farmstead at Torabhaig as the perfect location for a small, traditional distillery. All the factors needed to make good, robust island whisky were in place, right down to the Allt Breacach and the Allt Gleann, the burns that feed us with the purest island spring water. We were also fortunate to start with a handsome, rugged building, rich in history and local lore. 200 years or so ago, the stone that forms this building was hauled up from the ruined castle in the bay, by horse and cart. Men toiled from dawn till dusk building this Steading which was to stand the test of time for the next 150 years or so until farming practices changed.
Our 19th century building has now been fully restored to hold the gorgeous copper stills and traditional wooden washbacks that should allow us to produce whisky here for the next two hundred years, we have even built in a roof we can remove so that in time the pot stills can be replaced without disturbing the old building again.
After a painstaking 4-year restoration and build, Torabhaig has been a fully operational Single Malt Scotch Whisky distillery since January 2017, the second ever on the Isle of Skye
Caisteal Chamuis changes hands for the last time
Built on the site of an Iron Age fort, Caisteal Chamuis, also known as Knock or Cnoc Castle, changed hands in battle many times over the centuries, the last documented owner being Clan MacDonald in 1632.
Watercolour reconstruction of Caisteal Camuis by David L Roberts © Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre, High Life Highland.
The farmhouse at Torabhaig is built
Earliest records dating back to 1763 list Knock House as inhabited and mention a working farm at Torabhaig.
The Steading is Built Using Stone From The Castle
Long held as a rumour, after analysing the stone of the steading walls and the ruins of Caisteal Chamuis we were able to ascertain that the steading buildings were in fact built with stone taken from the by then derelict castle.
Planning permission is granted
After many years of planning, the permits to build a distillery at Torabhaig are issued in 2002.
Mossburn’s Renovation Project Begins
Ground is broken, and the renovation and build are underway. At this point we were expecting the project to take 2 years…
Stills & Washbacks are installed and commisioned
The traditional twin copper pot stills and douglas fir washbacks were designed especially for our building and custom built by the venerable Forsyths of Rothes.
The moment of truth – distilling at Torabhaig begins.