‘Our final tasting of the year has never failed to be an absolute corker. As the winter solstice rears its shadowy head again we invite you to join us in a celebration of another year passing whilst we sample a selection of fine spirits and share in some tasty treats‘. [MnC]
First up, Cutty Sark. Given I’ve never tried Cutty Sark before [ikr!], here’s a whole load of info about it, mostly lifted from: https://www.cutty-sark.com/our-story/our-history/
Cutty Sark is a blended Scotch whisky brand created by Berry Bros. & Rudd [BBR] in 1923, the year after Cutty Sark [the fastest ship of its day built in 1869], was retired to England for naval training.
The story goes: ‘Francis Berry and Hugh Rudd, met with Scottish artist James McBey for lunch. Pretty quickly, the conversation turned to whisky (as all good conversations do), and they soon realised that there was a need to create a new, lighter style of blended whisky. With a dream to go global, their first aim was to break the USA’, – which at the time was experiencing Prohibition.
McBey designed the label on a napkin there and then, and the Directors sent it off to the printers with the instruction that the background should look ‘aged’. The printers made a serendipitous mistake as the label came back yellow.
Cutty Sark’s name comes from the famous poem Tam O’Shanter [WB] by Robert Burns. It’s about a farmer called Tam who is chased by a scantily-clad witch called Nannie, dressed only in a ‘cutty sark’ – an archaic Scottish name for a short nightdress. Cutty Sark’s figurehead is a depiction of Nannie.
The drawing of the clipper ship on the label of Cutty Sark’s bottles is the work of Swedish artist Carl Georg August Wallin. He was a mariner painter, and this is probably his most famous ship painting. This drawing has been on Cutty Sark’s whisky bottles since 1955. The Cutty Sark [CS] blend was the foundation & capital-provider for BBR’s development over the next 90 years.
- 1933 – The end of Prohibition leads to a meteoric rise in popularity of [Cutty Sark] whisky.
- 1934 – around 7,000 cases of CS were sold.
- 1936 – approx. 81,000 cases of CS were sold.
- 1961 – CS became the first Scotch whisky to sell over 1m cases in the USA
- 1968 – this rose to 2.4m cases [approx. 200k per month].
- 1963 – ‘Gordon Cooper (the youngest of the USA’s first seven astronauts), smuggled a 5cl bottle of Cutty Sark (and some cigarettes) for a midnight snack on the Mercury 9 mission’.
Edrington acquired Cutty Sark from BBR in 2010. Interestingly, Robertson & Baxter [SW], which later evolved into Edrington, were the sole supplier of whisky for the Cutty Sark blend back in 1936.
Cutty Sark 1970’s Ob./BBR Blended Scots Whisky 70 proof [26 2/3 fl. ozs]
- N: Notes-wise, I only wrote down ‘Buttery & honeyed biscuits made with baking soda’, but my lasting memory was of a highly enjoyable, archetypal high-malt-content blended whisky – rounded, Glenlivet-like, coppery < sweet-bitter, barley led juice.
- T: O&R sweet barley with some bitter-ish OBE, a little pepper, a pinch of heather and a lovely natural chew. Again, it’s very archetypal/whisky-like.
- F: Not as short as these older blends can be, we’ve a coppery finish that’s only a touch bitter.
- C: A very tasty, if a little faded, fairly intact example of an older blend.
Scores 84 points
‘The Teeling Whiskey Distillery is the first new distillery in Dublin for over 125 years. Located in the heart of Dublin City Centre, our distillery is a fully functional pot still distillery producing up to 500,000 litres of spirit each year’. [Teeling]
‘One of the newer players – yet with historic roots which can be traced back to 1782 – is the Dublin-based Teeling Distillery. Officially opened in 2015 by brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling, the distillery identifies as “progressive”, with a whopping 25% of its output dedicated to whiskey experiments’. [MoM]
This expression celebrates William Brabazon, 3rd Earl of Meath. The recipe has been widely reported as follows:
- 5% from 2001, fully matured in sherry hogsheads
- 5% from 2002, finished in PX / Oloroso barrels
- 30% from 2005, fully matured in ex-sherry butts
- 30% from 2007, fully matured in ex-sherry butts
- 30% from 2008, fully matured in ex-sherry butts
- N: This young, firm & robust single malt speaks highly of its cask influence, a creamy & rubbery [Madeira-like] sweet profile, though far less sherried than I remembered it being before [Blog].
- T: Trying this blind, I guessed it as being either Swedish [Mackmyra] or maybe Irish, finally plumbing for Glenallachie – doh! The journey speaks of coppery/sulphur-y, rubbery youthfulness, though again, it’s far less sherry than I had remembered it.
- F: Splinter-y, with a Brenne-like [Blog], blackcurrant bubblegum/candy sweetness.
- C: Not as I remembered it at all. Today it’s rather less inspiring.
Scores 82 points
Glenlossie 1997/2018 21yo cask #1143 [btl #45/223] 56.4% WB0
- N: Strewn with notes of candle wax, wax capacitors, old/long-stored chocolate, hessian and light BBQ=Asian spices, yet the honey-sweet barley base remains true.
- T: A strong, stark Mannochmore-esque arrival with a chocolate-y soft heart & mouthfeel.
- F: True to form with a clean waxy mouthfeel with a light bung note. Also, it’s a touch peppery yet without any tannin.
- C: Solid whisky, with a current market-appropriate rrp of £90.
Scores 86 points
The half way mark arrives. Click HERE for Part 2.