A Taste of the Isle of Skye in Paris with Torabhaig x Julien Sebbag

In October of this year, Paris Eater was invited to attend a lunch organised by the Torabhaig distillery with Chef Julien Sebbag cooking a specially curated menu. Playing on the whisky’s smokey notes, the over-fire cooked menu was paired with a line-up of the distillery’s newest releases. The incredible event organised by the team at Torabhaig and was held in the heart of the Forêt de Fontainebleau. This beautiful backdrop provided us with a taste of Torabhaig’s native home – the wild Islands of Skye.

Read on to discover more about one of Scotland’s newest distilleries and their single malt whiskies.

Introducing Torabhaig Whisky

Torabhaig (pronounced tora-vaig) is a new distillery located on the epically beautiful, wet and wild Isles of Skye in Scotland. It’s the second distillery on the largest island of the stunning Inner Hebrides. As a new comer in the very competitive spirits market, Torabhaig have big ambitions for their Island style single malts.

The distillery is based in an old farm dating back to the early 1800s on land owned by Sir Iain Noble. After Sir Noble’s death, Mossburn took over the site and started the Torabhaig distillery in 2017. Due to its location, in a small village on the far Southern Eastern side of the island, the distillery is exposed to the wild costal weather around the island.

Having only commenced distilling during the past few years, they’re still on the early side in their whisky development. With a minimum of 3 years of cask maturation required to be officially called a Scottish Whisky, Torabhaig have only recently been showing off their initial single malts. The results are impressive, their first batches revealing distinct island characteristics with iodine and sweet smoked peat notes.

It’ll be extremely interesting to see what the future holds for this distillery with more oak cask aged malts coming through the pipeline. Torabhaig have already started exporting Batch Strength to select international markets and lucky for us, we got to taste it.

Torabhaig Special Reserve Batch Strength

Currently only available in strong demand international markets (and in their distillery shop), the Special Reserve Batch Strength single malt is superb example of what Torabhaig can do.

Torabhaig special reserve batch reserve

Their Batch Strength single malts are highly peated to 78ppm and come in at 61.1% ABV. They are naturally coloured with a darker hue coming from the ex-bourbon barrels that they’re aged in. On the nose there are sweet, smokey and peppery notes of vanilla and citrus. On the palate there is the beautiful smoked peat flavour which develops early on, followed by a light char and hay notes later on. The mouthfeel is silky with a slight mineral feel. The finish is spicy, peppery and ashy hot. It’s an excellent bottle and a superb example of what’s to come from this new distillery.

Lunch in the Forêt de Fontainebleau

The incredible team of Torabhaig and Marussia France organised an intimate outdoor lunch in the heart of the Fontainebleau Forest outside of Paris. Star French chef Julien Sebbag and his team were there with a specially curated over-fire cooked menu designed to play with the whisky’s smokey notes.

Julien Sebbag, restauranteur & chef, is passionate about outdoor, wood and fire based cooking. It’s no secret that he’s a big fan of the Isles of Skye saying “I had one of my best travel memories in Skye, it’s one of my most favourite places”. His love of the idyllic, wild island encouraged his partnership with Torabhaig and luckily for us, it meant that we got to enjoy his incredible cooking.

The lunch started with an exceptional cold hay-smoked sea bream tartare with a smooth, well whipped hummus. The smokiness permeated the fish and worked perfectly with the first whisky pairing – their Allt Gleann Legacy. The citrus and iodine characteristics and the smoky notes from the peating amped up the beautiful subtle hay-smoke flavour. Afterwards, we were treated to a stunning grilled aubergine dish with fresh fig, tomatoes and melon which, again paired beautifully with the Allt Gleann Legacy’s citrus notes.

The main course was a beautiful roast beef, smoked, grilled and served with a chimichurri and BBQ potatoes. This course was matched with the Special Reserve Batch Strength bottle and it works perfectly with the beef.

This rich, complex and comforting combination inspired us to develop a peppercorn sauce recipe. Torabhaig’s whisky replaces cognac to enhance a grilled steak’s smokey flavour. Click below to get the recipe:

A special thanks to the team at Torabhaig, Marussia, Ailsa Cargill, Stewart Dick and Julien Sebbag.

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