A Scotch Single Malt, whose name does not correspond to any known distillery? What may confuse some whisky beginners, is a pretty normal circumstance for the advanced friend of Scotch whisky: Independent bottlers buy whisky casks of a particular distillery (or as part of the contract even already bottled ones) and decide themselves, how long the whisky should stay in the cask or if it will get a finish in a special cask. They decide whether it will be blended with other malts from the same distillery and finally when it will be bottled and sold. (provided test products)*
However, such a procedure does not always work the same way. In addition to well-known bottlers, who rely mostly or exclusively on full transparency, there are always those who have agreed with the producing distillery to keep the exact origin of the whisky a secret. So one does not find out from which distillery the corresponding single malts originate. However, most of the time, one gets to know from which Scottish whisky region the whisky comes from.
This is also the case with today’s single malts who listen to the name “The Torran”. Knowing all Scottish whisky stills by name is certainly an art in itself, but anyone who has dealt intensively with the subject will at least quickly suspect an independent bottler here. And this intuition is right: There is no “The Torran”-distillery in Scotland. The Torran is a brand that is sold by the company London & Scottish International Ltd. (which are Royal Warrant Holders for the Prince of Wales since 2007) and it is a Highland Single Malt Whisky. There are currently three different bottlings: the standard one among the three is The Torran Oak Cask, plus The Torran Port Wood and The Torran Sauternes Finish.
The whiskys all bear no age statement and are bottled at 40% ABV. That may have something to do with the relatively young age of the single malts, so the maximum possible reduction in drinking strength offers the chance to be able to cover certain traces of youth. The relatively cheap price of the bottles (around 30 euros) also points in this direction. Information about the addition of artificial color or chill-filtration cannot be found on the label, nor on the packaging, so it can be assumed that both was done here.
The Torran Oak Cask is a classic ex-bourbon cask single malt. I don’t want to take part in the speculation about the actual distillery behind the malt. Instead, I prefer to let the tasting notes speak for it:
Tasting Notes “The Torran Oak Cask”:
Aroma: Whilst we are dealing with a whisky made in part from peated barley malt, the smoke on the nose is not overly pungent. I would rather locate it in the lower midfield of the peat spectrum. The smoke mixes with herbaceous notes (heather, a hint of fennel), with a slight sweetness of honey, vanilla and a fresh citrus note.
Taste: On the palate, a spicy onset is accompanied by weak to medium smoke mixed with some vanilla. Despite the allegedly young age, there is a quite noticeable oak impact and some heather. Luckily, the expected metallic sharpness that many young malts unfold cannot be found here.
Finish: medium with smoke and spices
The Torran Port Wood was also matured in former bourbon casks (according to the manufacturer to a large extent in First Fill ex-Bourbon casks) and then received a finish in former port wine casks. We do not know anything about the exact lengths of the maturation times here either.
Tasting Notes “The Torran Port Wood”:
Aroma: The port wine barrels are undoubtedly noticeable! The smoke fades a bit more into the background (though it may also be due to me getting used to it in the progress of this tasting), the characteristic notes of heather, vanilla and citrus fruit are complemented by hints of strawberry and raspberry which make me think a bit of foamy red wine desserts.
Taste: On the palate, the port wine barrels are less noticeable. Although there are fine berry notes and a more pronounced bitterness, the proximity to the original bottling is bigger than on the nose.
Finish: medium long, oak and light smoke
The youngest member of the series (since 2017) is The Torran Sauternes Finish, which – after maturing in ex-Bourbon casks – was allowed to finish for about (!) six to twelve months in former Sauternes sweet wine casks. So there is at least a little bit of transparency here.
Tasting Notes “The Torran Sauternes Finish”:
Aroma: Light fruit notes and honey characterize this whisky on the nose. Of course, light smoke, heather and vanilla are also there, but the malt appears to be floral, lighter and slightly more delicate than with the other two variants.
Taste: Light smoke, a little pear, seabuckthorn, mirabelle plum, honey and a slight oak touch characterize the The Torran Sauternes finish.
Finish: medium long with smoke, spices and honey sweetness
The value-for-money ratio of The Torran single malts is quite solid. Of course, you should not expect the greatest revelation of Scottish whisky culture here, but for the presumably young age of the bottlings, I think they are more than decent. Above all, it makes these malts interesting for the use in cocktails, as many whisky purists are still shying away from this step. I can still understand that when it comes to very high-priced and old malts, but there are also damn good drinks based on a nice Scotch single malt and the possibilities are far from exhausted. For this reason, I will also present three matching cocktails in the next few days.
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online.
*The fact that these products have been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.