I had tried this one before, but a different batch and over 5 years ago. So when my whisky buddy Benny offered me a sample of this bottle, I gratefully accepted it. The tea clipper Cutty Sark, for which this Berry Brothers blend is named, first appeared on the label in 1955. Today, there are only 3 NAS-expressions (Cutty Sark, Cutty Sark Prohibition and Cutty Sark Storm), but for decades there was this 12 Year Old. In the 1980s it was even bottled at 43% and already had Glenrothes as fingerprint malt, while the most important grain component was North British, the distillery in Edinburgh just across the Murrayfield stadium.
The light and fresh nose shows quite some OBE, making it smell somewhat metallic and butane gas-like. This is no surprise. Underneath I discover some barley sugars, white fruit, vanilla and oak. To be honest, it is not as fresh as the release I tried several years ago. Despite my patience, the OBE does not evaporate.
On the palate, this is a lot better. Feisty and fatty. Caramel, vanilla, nuts, white and citrusfruit with some zestiness and pepper. Lovely touch of smoke. Would that be woodsmoke or might Cutty contain some Islay?
The finish is medium long on nuts and spices, dry at the death.
Absolutely not a ‘wow’ whisky, but Berry Bros does not aim for that. The tagline read ‘born to be mixed’ for good reason. Thanks, Benny.