Whisky Review: Cù Bòcan
Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky
Origin: Tomatin Distillery
Bottling: Takara Shuzo
Cost: £34.43 buy from Master of Malt
What they say:
Lightly peated [15ppm] single malt matured in a compelling combination of Virgin Oak, Bourbon and Sherry casks. Non chill filtered and batch release of 6000 bottles per year. This whisky is described as “light smoke intertwined with rich citrus and exotic spices”.
You are initially hit with coconuts and cream with some botanic notes, parsley and coriander. The smoke emerges after a minute, but only drifting past the nose. A mesmeric mix of lime, grapefruit and tangerines with rich almond and aniseed.
Initially feather light, followed by a honeyed smoke; toasted almonds. The rich spice of cloves, cinnamon and star anise create an enigmatic elegance. Imagine a café latte with fresh chocolate shavings.
Light with a hint of sweet smoke.
What I say:
On 3rd September I was lucky enough to be involved in the online twitter launch of the Cù Bòcan. Cù Bòcan is a new peated whisky released by the Tomatin Distillery and is available initially via the distillery shop and soon via Tomatin retailers. This is a very nice dram. The spirit has been distilled from peated barley but via the usual Tomatin methods, giving a subtle hint of peatiness throughout. Matured in virgin oak, bourbon and sherry casks, but with no age statement, however the youngest is reputedly at least around 8 years old. From tasting I would say that the virgin oak and sherry influences are either minor or very well balanced and controlled by the light peat and huge tropical citrus fruit flavours Tomatin is famous for. Although initially the peat is obvious and spicy it mellows on serial sipping revealing lovely cereal and more bourbon cask influenced flavours.
Pale straw yellow gold.
Sweet peanut and creosote [peat influenced flavours] with lemons and pear drops [esters and ketones] and honey, this really reminded me of something medicinal like honey and lemon cough syrup.
Initially fruity with lemon and orange then spicy pepper from the peat, this matures into a slightly drying mouthfeel with an oily quality like butter melting in your mouth. Sipping further, the peat influences recede and allow flavours of butter shortbread biscuit with vanilla and hazelnut.
Slightly drying with receding sweet peat smoke, then a little more lemon and citrus. Refreshing and smoky like mouthwash and a draw on a cigarette.
Firstly, many thanks to Tomatin for the free sample and evenings twitter entertainment. I suppose the nearest comparison in Tomatin’s range is their 15 year old [see review in http://wp.me/p3PiLE-2i]. This comes in at £2 cheaper with no age statement, however is limited batch released and is unique in the Tomatin stable as being peated. If you like Tomatin and don’t mind a little peat then this is a must. The balance is beautiful, again another whisky that belies its young age, and this isn’t easy to achieve. I have tried subtly peated speyside whisky before that felt like a blend in the glass, and the other extreme of ‘original recipe’ heavily peated speyside whisky which approached Islay proportions. The Cù Bòcan has just enough peat to tickle your tastebuds but is refreshing and complex. To me this would make an excellent accompaniment to an after dinner cheese platter or with lightly smoked dishes or BBQ food. In conclusion I would definitely buy this over the Tomatin 15 if I had the choice.
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