Senior partner Francis Berry had a strong belief in the potential for a new style of whisky – a naturally elegant and smooth whisky that could appeal to the palates of their fine wine clientele and that would challenge the conventions of the Scotch category. He insisted that only the finest and most delicate malt whiskies should be selected for the new blend and that the whisky should be naturally light in colour.
The History of Cutty Sark Whisky
The partners had invited James McBey, a well known Scottish artist, to a luncheon that day to discuss the launch. It was he who suggested the name and designed the label for the new whisky. The whisky is named after the 19th century tea clipper, which was the fastest sailing ship of her day.
At the time, the tea clipper of that name was being brought back from Portugal to be docked in London. It was the big story of the day. She was named after a young witch who was dressed in a ‘Cutty Sark’ or ‘short shirt’ and who ran as fast as the wind in a Robert Burns’ poem (Tam O’Shanter).
The Cutty Sark is the epitome of the great age of sail. She is the only surviving extreme clipper, a type of vessel that was the highest development of the fast commercial sailing ship. Her fine lines – a considerable part of her appeal – are defined by her frames which form part of the vessel’s composite construction; a construction technique of which she is the best surviving example and of which she is of exceptional quality. The Cutty Sark was, prior to the fire in 2007, the second most visited paid-for attraction in London. When she re-opens in 2010, she will be more spectacular than ever.
Facts about Cutty Sark Whisky
- Cutty Sark is one of the top 10 best-selling blended Scotch whiskies in the world.
- Cutty Sark Original is pale gold in colour with a fresh, fragrant aroma of fresh fruit supported by hints of vanilla and oak. Notably, it has a sweet, smooth flavour and a clean, crisp finish. This sweet, smooth refreshing style sets it apart from its competitors.
- The Cutty Sark blend is made up of around twenty renowned single malt whiskies, predominantly from the Speyside region in Scotland, which are blended with high quality grain whiskies. Together they give Cutty Sark its naturally sweet and fresh, fruity-floral character.
- These single malt and single grain whiskies are matured in carefully selected American oak casks, which lend soft vanilla notes to the whisky.
- The malts are blended together, as are the grains, before, crucially, the final blend is left to marry in oak casks for up to 6 months before bottling . This allows the malts & grains to 'marry‘ and harmonize properly, so delivering a round, fuller 'mouth-feel'.
- Gentle filtration is the final key characteristic of Cutty Sark: while other blended Scotch whiskies are typically chill-filtered to maximise filtration strength and liquid clarity, Cutty Sark only undergoes a gentle filtration process, which retains more of the whisky’s natural oily texture, thus enhancing mouth-feel.
- Created in London by established wine & spirit merchants, BB&R, who believed in quality and innovation, it deliberately challenged existing standards.
- Cutty Sark was the first naturally light coloured whisky in the world. Its lightness of colour and smooth style opens the door to a broader range of uses than is normal for Scotch Whisky - this is a spirit that is both full of character and very versatile.
- Exceptional care is taken throughout the production process. Craft, dedication and skill are evident in distilling, maturing and blending. There are no shortcuts to outstanding quality and genuine character.
Character and Style of Cutty Sark
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