Cù Bòcan Signature
Let’s start our Halloween flight with a fitting ghost story. It is believed that a hellhound haunted the Tomatin distillery and surrounded village for many years. Enter Cù Bòcan, which means ‘Ghost Dog’ in Gaelic, a lightly peated single malt by the Tomatin Distillery. The malt is produced only in the winter, when days are short and nights are long. But rest assured, this whisky is as friendly as it gets:
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.
We can imagine the roughened isle of Islay to be pretty terrifying spooky October month. Especially when it’s dark and misty outside. And if you’ve been to Islay once in your life, it’s not hard to imagine walking around a misty Laphroaig site and breathing in the aromas of the distillery. That smell is something we will never forget from our first visit. Keep that picture in mind and blend it into a whisky: Islay Mist’s got you covered. This blend consist mostly of Laphroaig, blended with a couple of Speyside malts and grain whisky:
Fruity and nicely rounded, with sweet peat, licorice, a dash of chlorine and a very distant hint of sherry
Supple and smooth, with a hint of licorice root. It’s warming and fruity, a tad salty. A little bit watery maybe.
Light, fruity and grainy. A hint of matches and slightly medical. Enough to showcase a hint of Islay to starters.
Ardbeg 5yo Wee Beastie
With Halloween around the corner, this fairly recent addition to the Ardbeg core range can not miss. A solid but young Ardbeg, with a dash of sherry. The Ardbeg beast is unleashed, but in a very subtle way. Like seeing a haunting shadow at first, which turns out to be just your neighbours Chihuahua. It’s a lovely and warming dram to get you through the autumn breeze.
The nose is really enjoyable, a fruit basket, fudge and quite tropical at first. But then a wild array of savoury flavours enter the nose: BBQ, mushrooms, peppers, onions, honey, dill, bacon, eggs and buttery corn. A coal damp to remind us: in our heads we’re on Islay right now.
The palate is creamy and sweet, with vanilla ice cream when entering the mouth. But it soon transforms into something ashy and spicy. Some onions made it from the nose onto the palate, but it seems like the bbq party is over. Or is it?
Here we go again: mushrooms, savoury ham, sweet fudge, mango and passion fruit, drying off into eucalyptus and rosemary.
Octomore Masterclass 08.1
Halloween is a party of disguise and mischief. You and your friends dress like scary monsters, but underneath you’re all still the friendly bunch. Bruichladdich’s Octomore range is THE definition of scary for people who aren’t very into peated whiskies. While most ‘heavily’ peated whiskies are peated to a level of around 35ppm (Lagavulin for example), Octomore has some who go beyond a whopping 200ppm! This one ‘only’ has 168ppm, but it’s still bananas. How would anybody be able to enjoy these? Well.. actually they’re pretty easy to drink. Never judge a book by its cover, you might be in for a (trick or) treat:
Warming and spicy wood, fruity and minerally. Watercolour paint, eucalyptus, bandages, peated barley, hay, moisty vegetation (like an aquarium), peat and vanilla.
Pineapple, orchard fruits, buttery and floral, very oily too, a bit dry on the tongue and a hint of coal smoke.
A fundament of barley and wood, very oily, like fish oil capsules, sweet smoke, dried wood, matches, sulfurous barley, pear, flowers and heather, salty spinach and seaweed, avocado and spices.
Smokehead Islay Single Malt
The skull, the dark colours, everything checks out for this Halloween theme. This single malt of an unknown Islay distillery is bottled by Ian MacLeod Distillers and received critical acclaim over the years. Just like a Halloween disguise, it’s hard to see who’s underneath. The fun part of these bottlings is: you can try to find out yourself! Put on your Sherlock hat (it’s a great costume too!) and compare the whisky to other Islay whiskies and maybe you’ll guess which distillery this is from. If you ask us: we think it might be the most eastern one on the map, but sssst…
Tomato juice, copper, sweet cornflakes, rosehip and fish oil. Savoury notes such as stout, roasted meat with bacon. Somewhat buttery at the end.
Rich and sweet, vanilla, tropical notes and lime zest. Salted toffees are definitely in there. A beautiful mixture between the fruity and savoury notes, very well balanced!
A very interesting finish with fish oil, charred wood, matches and blackberries. A touch of mango and charred meat. It certainly is a rich but smooth dram, it offers just what you need!