Cù Bòcan Relaunches with Crazy Cask Finishes

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The final article in my mini New-Releases-At-Whisky-Fringe series (following on from my Glen Moray 21yo Portwood Finish review and my AnCnoc 16yo Cask Strength and Peat review) takes me to Cù Bòcan, the name of the peated spirit produced during the winter months at Tomatin distillery. The brand has completely revamped their range, and they’ve not done it by half. The new line up consists of three NAS drams, each matured in a rather wacky combination of casks.

Signature, the entry level expression, is the most conservative of the three, with it being matured in bourbon, oloroso sherry and American virgin oak casks. The brand’s first two creations, aptly named Creation #1 and Creation #2, are a bit more flamboyant. Creation #1 is matured in Black Isle Brewery Imperial Stout and Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal wine casks, whereas Creation #2 has been matured in Japanese Shochu and European Virgin Oak casks. Blimey.

Stephen Bremner, Managing Director, said: “Consumer testing feedback reaffirmed that the Cù Bòcan spirit was exceptional with powerful potential, but were telling the wrong story. We’re excited this new positioning puts the product back at the heart of Cù Bòcan to welcome people into the world of lightly peated whisky and the unusual finishes that lie within.”

This should be fun…

Cù Bòcan Signature
Bourbon, Oloroso and American Virgin Oak casks
46% ABV
£44.95 here

Nose: Clean and green, with apple chews, smoked toffee apples, lime zest, vanilla custard and new oak.

Palate: Creamy vanilla, white mice, pear drops, more apple chews, lime sherbet, clean smoke, and light oak.

Finish: Gingery spice, rye bread and lingering smoky tannins.

Cù Bòcan Creation #1
Imperial Stout and Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal wine casks
46% ABV
£59.95 here

Nose: Cacao powder, quite nutty, some chocolate covered cherries, crushed walnut, raspberries, blackcurrant cordial and cinnamon stick.

Palate: Tiramisu, coffee liqueur chocolates, orange zest, bourbon biscuits, some Black Forest fruits and a sweet earthy nuttiness. Some old logs and charred oak too.

Finish: Clove, dark chocolate, thick oak and crushed black peppercorns.

Cù Bòcan Creation #2
Japanese Shochu and European Virgin Oak casks
46% ABV
£59.95 here

Nose: Very zesty – lemon sorbet, smoked limes, fresh pineapple and pickled ginger. Some pear skins and vanilla sponge too.

Palate: Much more creamy, with lemon posset, BBQ’d bananas, vanilla yoghurt, and marzipan. There’s sweet smoke, more ginger and some firm new oak too.

Finish: Tingling spices, creamy citrus and drying sawdust.

Overall: Well, that really was fun. Each of these three whiskies are distinctly different but with a common, smoky sweet DNA. They are all rather easy drinking, and perhaps lack a touch of finesse and complexity, but for (undoubtedly) young liquid, they are quite interesting and enjoyably sessionable. I’m looking forward to seeing what other ‘creations’ appear in this range in the future.



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