Origin: Highlands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Beer and ex-Moscatel
Added coloring: No
Owner: Takara Shuzo Corp.
Average price: € 60.00
Official website: www.tomatin.com
Legend has it that every generation, a dog-like spirit appears in the Highlands spreading chaos and devastation, only to vanish as it appeared in a puff of blue smoke.
This lively, untamed creature is called Cù Bòcan in Gaelic, and what more fitting name for this slightly peated, experimental version of the classic Tomatin?
Created in 2013, Cù Bòcan is made from a small batch of lightly peated barley (around 15ppm) that is distilled each winter, then matured in a series of sought-after casks that match its unusual nature.
Completely revised in terms of design and core range in 2019, at the moment Cù Bòcan sees the Signature Malt (ex-Bourbon, ex-Oloroso Sherry and American virgin casks) as the stable, which, as the name suggests, marks the high road, flanked by various editions, called Creation, which differ in the type of maturation and which have, to date, reached their fourth bottling to which a fifteen-year-old has recently been added, as well as various limited versions.
Let’s start with number 1, made from ex-Imperial Stout casks from Black Isle Brewery and former Bacalhôa Moscatel De Setúbal, an admittedly bizarre marriage that creates no small amount of curiosity.
The nose is quite lively, with apple peel, orange peel, sultanas, ginger biscuits and a hint of nutmeg evoking a Christmas cake, accompanied by a cup of cocoa sour milk with a drop of coffee. Slight undertones of acetone and wood, with peat embodied in a faint earthy note running through the aromas. A balance between sweetness and acidity that strangely works.
On the palate, it’s the coffee that takes the lion’s share, more in the form of candy than espresso, accompanied by acidulous fruity notes (citrus, crisp apple and red fruits), impressions of cocoa, meringue and an intense herbaceous vein with bitter flashes. Spicy accents dance on a subtle smoky note that emerges along the length.
Medium-long finish of coffee, cocoa, vegetable notes, apple and smoked wood.
Very interesting on the nose, with those slightly ‘crooked’ notes that can come together in harmonic dissonance, getting a little lost in the mouth where they appear less integrated and with some dissonance. Taking it as an experiment, and thinking of the malt of origin, it is nevertheless a dram worth the experience.