Tomatin is a brand that I know quite well by now, I have tasted quite a lot of them and I got to admire the distillery after a visit. But I wasn’t familiar with the peated Tomatin, called Cù Bòcan. Besides its existence, I actually didn’t know anything about it. No specific reason, I just haven’t gotten around to trying it yet. So, after an initial introduction to Cù Bòcan at a virtual tasting last year, it seemed only logical to post my findings here as well.

The Cù Bòcan range has been around for a few years now, but the range was relaunched in 2019. Not only was there a beautiful new design (so much better than the old look), but there was also a completely new range, which now consists of three NAS bottles. The first is the Signature, which is the standard Cù Bòcan, and then you have the Creation # 1 and # 2. Both are a bit more experimental in terms of choice and combination of the casks.

This Cù Bòcan has matured in 60% bourbon, 25% oloroso and 15% virgin oak casks and is bottled at 46% ABV. (said to be at least 8 years old).

Cù Bòcan Signature tasting notes:

Nose: a little buttery at first mixed with the tiniest hint of smoke. Unripe pears and green apples. Lemons and a hint of crema Catalana.

Taste: rather creamy again. The smoke is a bit more pronounced than in the nose. Vanilla and lemons, followed by dark chocolate. It’s somewhat spicy with a faint hint of tobacco. A bitter note too, which I can’t really define.

Finish: short to mid-long with smoke, lemons, caramel and a touch of vanilla.

Score: 83/100

This Cù Bòcan is a marriage of 28% ex-bourbon single malt from 2005 before being finished for 7 years in Imperial stout casks from Black Isle Brewery and 72% ex-bourbon single malt from 2008, before being finished for 4 years in Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal wine casks

Cù Bòcan Creation #1 tasting notes:

Nose: quite some chocolate notes, before it gets fruity. Then some subtle smoke. A hint of red fruits. Barley notes and lemons. Jaffa cakes as well.

Taste: thick and sweet. Orange marmalade and quite a lot. Nectarines and peaches. A hint of Earl Grey tea. Then honey and milk chocolate. A very sweet liqueur note, moscatel maybe? Followed by a subtle layer of spices, ginger and cinnamon mostly. A hint of black pepper too.

Finish: mid-long and sweet oranges. Moscatel.

Score: 83/100

This Cù Bòcan is a marriage of 83% ex-bourbon single malt from 2005, finished for 7 years in ex-shochu casks and 17% 5-year-old single malt matured in European virgin oak.

Cù Bòcan Creation #2 tasting notes:

Nose: creamy and buttery. I like this from time to time. Green grape peels, galia melon and pears. A hint of butterscotch. A floral note. A very subtle hint of smoke, but you have to concentrate really hard for this, haha. Green bananas. Lemon in the background. Coconut in the background. And a nutty aspect.

Taste: quite creamy again. Werther’s Original. A touch of lime. Vanilla. Green grapes. A little earthy? The smoke is just a little more pronounced than on the nose, but still not much. It’s light but then it goes towards spices, ginger, white pepper but also minerals.

Finish: mid-long with the same spices.

Score: 84/100

Overall: So first we had the Signature, the standard Cù Bòcan of the range. This is not bad at all, but not super special either. A solid dram with a nice touch of smoke. Although, slightly on the bitter side on the palate at the end.

Creation #1 is nice and I can taste it’s good, but it’s just a little too sweet for me. It’s like the Moscatel casks take over at some point and that’s the kind of sweetness that I like to be more integrated because it’s not my favourite kind of sweetness, however, this is mainly on the palate and finish. The nose is really good. I don’t get much of the peat either, maybe just a little on the nose.

My favourite of the three was the Creation #2. Despite the fact that this one is perhaps a bit simpler than the other Creation, I think it tastes better. I personally find the lightness, the subtle smoke and the combination of the spices really great in this one. It’s less sweet, or actually, it has a different quite of sweetness than the previous Creation and it’s fruitier, which is more to my liking. It’s more subtle.

Samples provided by Tomatin.