Cù Bòcan Creation #3 vs Cù Bòcan Creation #4

It’s time for a detour and self-reflection. After all, these words are as much about the author as they are about the drink. The two bring something to the table, and in the process blend reality into these words. So, I’ve noticed, that not only have I not written in the last two weeks but also, although I have been tasting plenty of whiskies, my process and approach has somehow changed. I suspect it has something to do with my attending curated events, presenting new and rare expressions, in essence driving me along the whisky tour. And I don’t feel like I’m behind the wheel of this journey, and hence I tend to skip the steps designed. Or maybe it has all to do with the insanity of the current situation, post-Covid and pre-WWIII, which I hope never starts. Oh well… let’s see what we can muster here, but first, we need some music in this room! Now playing: Roel FunckenBurient EP.

I have already covered the first two samples from Cù Bòcan when I compared the Signature vs Creation #2 drams side by side. There are two more expressions from this experimental highland malt made by Tomatin, inventively named Creation #3 and Creation #4 in turn. Again, there is a bit of inquiry in these entangled bottles, exploring “innovative finishes to create whiskies full of intrigue and surprise.” The campaign informs us that these malts are distilled every winter from lightly peated barley in limited edition batches, and then extracting flavours from a variety of fascinating casks. This third creation was matured in a combination of Moroccan Cabernet Sauvignon (about two-thirds of volume) and North American Rye casks (for the rest). The whisky is all-natural in colour, non-chill filtered, and bottled at 46% ABV. Just as the rest of the creations in the range, it goes for £60, or thereabouts, and its non-age statement is the only thing that raises brows. It tastes a little young and thin, and then there is that whiff of wine flavour halfway through the gulp that seems to come in waves and fills the roof of my mouth. I try to pick out the influence of rye, but I just can’t taste it there. It’s sharp and spicy on the nose and has a bit of pepper on the finish. I sense no smoke, nor some of that Moroccan souk that tasting notes suggest I should pick out. I’m not a fan of wine, so let’s move on.

The fourth, and final dram in this creative series (so far as we can tell) has been matured in a proportion of tawny port and cognac casks (in a ratio of 1:2). It’s meant to be a nod to the Antrim Cocktail combining port and cognac with a dash of bitters and a lemon peel. The technical specifications of the bottle are the same, as is the price and process, so let’s see if this malt stands out on its own. It’s definitely sweeter than the third creation, but it’s still thin and now more caramelly on the nose. The tawny port is not as much pronounced as the cognac here, and then the latter gives this whisky more of that winey influence again. Alas, I feel no smoke, but with suggestions of a plum jam from the tasting notes, I think I can pick out a bit of stewed fruit in the forefront and the tail. I try to find Tomatin in the layers, but since this is a younger whisky here, I can’t locate the core range from the brand. It seems unfair, but I pour a bit of Balvenie to compare – and yes, I’m pretty sure this 21-year-old PortWood will stand out, but let’s just see how much. Ah, and it’s very much divine in all its glory. It’s smooth and light and sweet in all the right proportions. There’s even more plum, more bananas, peach and light salted caramel on the nose. It’s overall a beautifully wrapped single malt with just a touch of port. Again, unfair to compare it, but I had to.

So there you have it, folks. With this tasting, I conclude the range of Cù Bòcan for now. Perhaps there will be other curiosities ahead. But even as I look back at the first creations plus the Signature, I think I have to state that #4 outshines them all and wins this round.

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