The Sailing Spirit

By / Wine + Drinks / May 19th, 2011 / 2

This year, Cutty Sark celebrates 75 years of distribution in Canada.

Created in 1923 by Berry Bros. & Rudd, Cutty Sark was the first light-coloured blended whisky, and it was launched at the height of cocktail culture. When the USA was in the grips of Prohibition, the partners at Berry Bros. & Rudd saw an opportunity to create a new type of blended Scotch specifically for an international market. Francis Berry insisted that only the finest malt whiskies should be selected for the new blend and that the whisky should be naturally light in colour.

The new whisky was named after the world’s fastest and most famous Scottish-built clipper ships, launched in 1869: the Cutty Sark. The clipper, in turn, took it’s name after a young and beautiful witch dressed in a ‘Cutty Sark’ or short shirt, who could run as fast as the wind —  from the famous poem “Tam O’Shanter” by Scotland’s celebrated poet Robert Burns. Today one of the great sights of London, the Cutty Sark clipper is the only surviving extreme clipper, and the only surviving tea clipper still in existence. Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky is reputed to have given rise to the expression “the real McCoy” as it was bootlegged during prohibition by the legendary Captain Bill McCoy.  McCoy was teetotal, and unusually, his contraband was uncut and unadulterated – the expression remains a synonym for integrity and authenticity.

The Repeal of Prohibition in 1933 led to a surge in sales until Cutty Sark became the best- selling Scotch whisky in the USA and the first Scotch brand to ever sell over 1 million cases. It has been used as a prop in tv shows and movies, such as The Sopranos, Mad Men, GoodFellas and Raging Bull.

Cutty Sark is made by blending more than 30 single malt whiskies, predominantly from Speyside. As a result, it is a very approachable whisky in taste and attitude. Smooth enough to be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, it’s lightness makes it perfect in whisky cocktails (such as the London Mule: a blend of Cutty Sark, Gingerale, and lime.)

Tasting Notes
Colour:  Pale gold.
Nose:  Grassy, fresh and fragrant.
Palate: Vanilla and oak character from American oak casks.

Finish: Fruity, clean and dry


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