Cù Bòcan Signature / Creation 5 / 12 Years / 15 Years

Cù Bòcan Signature / Creation 5 / 12 Years / 15 Years

Tomatin distillery has been quite successful in launching a peated sub-brand called Cù Bòcan. Especially after the redesign of 2019 there have been a number of interesting core expressions and limited editions. We tried a few back in 2019 but now we prepared an update.

First we revisit the Cù Bòcan Signature. This is around 8 years old and a mix of bourbon casks (around 60%), as well as Oloroso sherry and virgin oak casks.


Cù Bòcan Signature (46%, OB 2023, bourbon + Oloroso + virgin oak casks)

Nose: sweet and mildly smoked. There’s peach and yellow apple, as well as buttery biscuits and hints of honey. Creamy vanilla. Some beer-like notes. Then citrus, light chocolate and modest hints of newish wood. Dry wood smoke comes out after a while but stays quite gentle throughout the development.

Mouth: rather creamy again, with vanilla custard, lemons and honey. Now the woodsmoke is more pronounced than on the nose. It also offers cinnamon, clove and black peppercorns, giving it a firm spicy kick including a slight bitterness. A bit of an earthy feel and a touch of coffee as well.

Finish: rather long, on gingerbread, earthy smoke and wood spice.

This is a fine whisky if you’re looking for a sweet style with only light woodsmoke. Not exactly challenging in any way, just a nicely balanced whisky. Certainly on the same level as the 2019 version as I remember it. Available from Master of Malt or The Whisky Exchange, among others.


Then we proceed with three newer expressions. The latest expression in the experimental Creation series aged in refill American oak hogsheads. It was then finished in Andean oak from Colombia, for around one year. A wood type that we haven’t seen before. The trees grow above 3500 meters and the wood is said to be floral and aromatic.


Cù Bòcan Creation #5 (46%, OB 2023, Colombian Andean oak cask finish)

Cu Bocan Creation 5 - Colombian Andean Oak Nose: a fresh, rather minty style. Some slightly exotic fruits as well, mainly bananas and pineapple. Then hints of jasmine, gorse and charcoal. The peat smoke is quite light and resinous again. Better than the Signature nose, in my opinion.

Mouth: again very elegant, with much more refined flavours than the Signature. Mint is back, alongside eucalyptus tea and banana sweetness. Hints of oak char and pepper, as well as orange juice. Floral honey. Light clove and light agave character.

Finish: medium length, with hints of pineapple, mint tea and slightly acrid spice (ginger and the likes).

Not a common type of wood, but a nice surprise. I think the lightness and floral freshness work very well. That said, don’t expect peat levels like those from Islay. Available from TyndrumWhisky or The Whisky Exchange among others. Score: 86/100


Then we get to the Cù Bòcan 12 Year Old, finished in a mix of rum cask from Guyana and Barbados.


Cù Bòcan 12 yo (46%, OB 2023, Batch #1, Caribbean rum casks)

Cu Bocan 12 Year Old - Batch 1 Nose: back to a round sweetness, of course. Lots of banana peels and pineapple notes. Fairly alcoholic as well. Then hints of sour dough, lemon candy and ginger biscuits. Subtle hints of salt as well. Hints of white chocolate after a while.

Mouth: sweet but not as much as we expected from rum casks. Roasted pineapples, salted caramel, hints of mint and pepper. Always a great, gentle smokiness too, rather on the vegetal side. Damp moss and leafy notes, leading up to ginger and burnt heather.

Finish: medium length, with lemon candy, nougat and peppery smoke.

Rum casks usually lead to plenty of rounded sweetness. Here as well, but it’s fairly well dosed and the rum also brings a dry and spicy twist. I saw it at The Whisky Exchange and Royal Mile Whiskies for instance. Score: 84/100


The last one is the Cù Bòcan 15 Year Old matured in Oloroso sherry casks.


Cù Bòcan 15 yo (50%, OB 2023, Oloroso sherry casks)

Cu Bocan 15 Year Old - 2023 edition Nose: blackberries and raisins, marmalade, hints of dried herbs and cigar boxes. Then plenty of dry tobacco leaves and orange peels, with a smouldering fireplace and hints of matchsticks. Chocolate filled with forest fruits. Hints of toffee and polished floors as well. Again not the peatiest whisky, but offering a nice smokiness.

Mouth: plenty of woody notes. Think cedar wood, alongside tobacco leaves and drying nutty notes, especially toasted walnuts. Burnt sugar, toffee, blackcurrants and hints of dark roasted coffee. Some candied ginger, raisins and cinnamon pastry as well.

Finish: medium length, with hints of chocolate, spicy wood and coffee.

There’s a lot of sherry richness here, which mixes nicely with the warm smokiness. It feels quite modern with a good dose of active wood involved, but the result is definitely nice. Available from The Whisky Exchange for instance. Score: 86/100