We start our Cù Bòcan journey with their Signature whisky. A lightly peated malt that has matured on bourbon, oloroso sherry and North American virgin oak casks.
That’s quite a lot of different casks, it’s not something that makes our heart beat faster usually, because more often than not, the layer on layer on layer is clouding the distillery’s core spirit. But the pleasantly honeyed natural colour of the whisky tells us that it’s not heavily sherried or otherwise overmatured.
The barley is peated to 15ppm. As we’re aware, those numbers are before distillation. So chances are that the smoke is very subtle. Let’s find out if that’s the case:
Sweet, buttered corn and green apples at first. It’s quite herbal and transforms into garlic butter and mushrooms. Lovely sweet barley and a tone of apricot marmalade. And when you try hard enough: a trace of smoke.
A whiff of peat, but on the background. It has a creamy and mineral body with fresh citrus, wood shavings and vanilla. A sweet and herbal note of rhubarb makes it truly mouthwatering.
Here’s the buttered corn again, with crushed ice, cucumber, toasted oak and sweet barley. A hint of wood smoke, cinnamon, nutmeg and Indian curry with coconut. Almond paste too. The longer you sit with it, the more herbal it becomes. Garlic bread remains with a long but subtle trail of soaked raisins.
You might know this by now, but we’re really into sweet herbal and savoury flavours in whisky. So this is totally up our alley, We think it’s the earthiness of the lightly peated barley in combination with the subtle influence of the oloroso casks and the creamy base that the Tomatin distillery provides. The bourbon and virgin oak casks play a huge part in making it sweet and buttery. Yum!
Nothing is overdone here and (spoiler alert) compared to the two Creations, it’s both the most full bodied and balanced one. The peat is present, although very subtle, we’re actually glad it is. A very elegant and pleasant whisky overall. The ABV of 46% is a bit on the lower side, so be aware that you pick the right moment to savour it, because other whiskies might overwhelm. Perhaps 50% would be better? There’s always something to wish for.