In 2013 the people of Tomatin Distillery started with something new (for them). They released a lightly peated dram that has aged in three different types of casks. Virgin oak and the usual suspects of Sherry and Bourbon casks. They invented a new brand called Cù Bòcan rather than calling it an official Tomatin Cù Bòcan although everyone views it as such. After this Cù Bòcan which is placed in the standard range, two more versions were released as Limited Editions. A Sherry version (6.000 bottles) and a vintage 1989 (1.080 bottles). Cù Bòcan is a legendary hell-hound that stalked the people of Tomatin (the town) for centuries. So it is a Whisky with a story, but don’t expect a Whisky with a hellish amount of peat. Compared to Shorty, Ardbeg’s dog, Cù Bòcan must be the size of a Chihuahua (from hell).
Color: Light gold, with a hint of pink.
Nose: Extremely malty. Coffee and new oak. Tiny note of smoke, and I’m still waiting for a little bit of peat. Vanilla and again some smoke. Vegetal and buttery. Ice-cream with ferns and a drop of sweat. Good balance though, everything seems to be in the right place. A bit late in the mix come the fruits, yellow and tropical. Yes Tomatin all right. Reminds me also of the Tomatin Legacy. I’m working at it, but no peat. Still a likeable nose nevertheless.
Taste: Young and estery. Sweet and vanilla ice-cream. Fresh virgin oak bitterness. A prickly sensation like smoke, burnt wood and the contents of an ashtray. In no way bad or overpowering though. Like the nose all in good balance.
This Cù Bòcan is in good balance, well made yet very young tasting. A true stereotypical NAS Whisky. In the end I didn’t get the peat, but enough smoky notes. Tomatin Legacy is also a NAS offering and uses the same casks minus the Sherry casks. In some markets the Legacy costs half of this Cù Bòcan. Cù Bòcan is nice stuff but is too close to Tomatin’s Legacy offering to justify the price tag.