Whisky Review – Tomatin Cù Bòcan 1988 vintage @Tomatin1897

Tomatin Cù Bòcan 1988

51.5% ABV

Non Chill Filtered

No Added Colouring

£199.95 from Master of Malt

This time Tomatin’s Cù Bòcan is getting its smoke from a different place! The spirit (distilled December 2nd 1988) used in this bottling is not peated, but was matured traditionally and then finished (from October 2014) in 2nd and 3rd filled ex-Islay sherry casks. 

Limited only to 2200 bottles!


Fruit is the first thing on the nose from the pour. Lots of apples, ripe, rose apples, with hints of citrus, mainly lemons. Smoke is lingering in the background, a slightly medicinal style of smoke. This is 27 years old, so a little time is needed to settle. After 15 minutes of so things start to balance out, the fruits are richer and more tropical, with hints of charred pineapple, pear and peaches coming into the mix. There is some fresh cereal malty notes, a light cinnamon, touch of clove and the medicinal smoke has become sweeter, with some sweet dew laden grassiness. 


A gentle arrival, slowly builds, some dry and tarty citrus fruit initially, then the oils become very evident giving a substantially coating mouthfeel. Pears, apples and other soft fruits are very prominent with a coating of liquid smoke, some malt creaminess, custard cream biscuits, and the leftovers of a smouldering forest campfire, along with mossy excretions run through the development. 


A gentle smokey powerfulness remains for a long oily finish, with some gently grilled fruit kebabs and some creamy custard. 

Adding water.

Only a couple drops added, this is old and wouldn’t want to damage its structure. The nose has a reduced fruit intensity in favour of increased smokiness. Fruits have become slightly fizzy, with the malty cereals taking a more forward role. The palate retains the previous fruitiness, with some added zing. The fruits are drier now, and more crystallised, with concentration on the pineapple notes. There is also some additional herbal notes, something akin to light aniseed. The finish has a slight oaky fizziness, and more sweet smoke. It’s a tale of two halves, and I can appreciate them both. I personally prefer the undiluted, but it’s worth an experiment with the later part of your dram. 


Surprisingly vibrant for such an old whisky. This is no overoaked affair, it’s a beautifully delicate, fruity flavoursome and creamy whisky, with a touch of smoke added in. It seems on the surface as expensive at £200, but given the age (knocking on 28 years old), this is actually good value in today’s official bottling market. 

Thanks so much to Tomatin for providing the sample, also bought a bottle to split between friends.