Tomatin Cù Bòcan

Tomatin: Cù Bòcan (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: No age statement: 46% ABV)

Visual: Pale grain gold.

Viscosity: Many very slow, very thin streaks come out of the spirit.

Nose Tarry thick. Treacle sweet. Smoke. Lime sorbet. Sugar dusting. Lemon cakes and cake sponge.

Body: Honey. Salt rocks. Sweet lime. Peat and broth. Lemon cakes. Sponge. brown bread. Water expands the softer notes – dried apricot and light liquorice. A slight tarry touch still.

Finish: Meaty beef broth. Light salt. Bready. Water leaves a sulphur air and malt chocolate. Big smoke. Toffee bonbon notes and apricot.

Conclusion: The use of peat in fruitier and lighter whiskys intrigues me. It is such a hard balance to pull off, and there are so many different ways you can go with it. Do you go for the subtle wisps of smoke over fruit? Do you drop a deluge of peat that overwhelms the base, or do you try and walk the tightrope between the two?

That last one is the approach this takes. I guess it helps that, despite the lack of peat, base Tomatin is robust enough, if not exactly heavy duty – just enough to give it a lot of room to play here.

The first aromatic element to hit is a thick, tarry punch of treacle and smoke. Yet as you wait, it recedes back letting soften lemon cakes and lime sorbet notes come out. From these first moments the pattern for the entire whisky is set. It comes in heavy up front, then easy out, an element it repeats in the body and finish. Meaty broth and soft lemon.

You always find those tarry thick notes up front, not brutal, but strong, and then it seeps into soft indulgence. It is remarkably consistent throughout the whisky, and the use of water just means it emphasises this progression more.

Frankly it does the balance to a tee and that impresses. Never an assault, but never able to be overlooked. It is the softest kick to the nuts you will ever get, metaphorically speaking.

Well worth taking a few wee drams to examine.

Background: I love the smaller whisky bottles, it gives me a chance to try a wide range of expressions. This one, picked up from Independent Spirit, is apparently named after the legend of some sort of spectral hellhound. Anyway, this is basically the peated (15ppm) expression of Tomatin, aged in a mix of bourbon, sherry and virgin oak casks. so should be interesting. Drunk while listening to “Against Me!” Predominantly “I was a teenage anarchist”. Also a bit of “Feed The Rhino.” for variety.