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Cutty Sark Prohibition

Cuts Like A Knife

1 1891

@talexanderReview by @talexander

21st Feb 2016

0

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    22
  • Balance
    24
  • Overall
    91

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

So this is my first Cutty Sark! This blend was created in 1923 for Berry Bros. & Rudd, and was the first very pale-coloured whisky in the world. Named after a famous Scottish-built clipper ship, the standard blend uses around 20 malts, including Glenrothes and Macallan.

This, however, is not the standard blend. The Prohibition release celebrates Captain William McCoy, who smuggled Cutty Sark into the US during Prohibition. He developed a reputation for bringing in quality whisky, hence the phrase "The Real McCoy" (or at least, that's what the marketing wizards will have you believe). This NAS blend is prepared in small batches, matured in American oak casks, and bottled at 50% (rather than the 40% of the standard blend). A special thanks to @Nozinan for this sample, which came from a bottle opened December 19 2015.

The colour is a medium amber. On the nose, camphor oil, furniture polish, beeswax and sage. Very floral. Hints of peat and ginger, and quite malty. Slightly sour note - which works here - that reminds me of an SMWS Macallan I had some time ago. A drop of water brings out some peat but really, you don't need it. Rich, complex and balanced.

On the palate we have thin honey, more peat and spices (cayenne, cumin). Oily mouthfeel (could Springbank be in this?) Butterscotch, with a hint of vanilla. Lemony, more so with water. Fantastic stuff.

The finish is peppery with a touch of that cumin. This is one of the top blends I've ever had - very earthy, rich and easy to drink (considering that high proof). Extraordinary balance between the oil, peat and a light, fruity style. I will have to try more Cutty Sark in the future.

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18 comments

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden commented

A very enjoyable blend indeed. In Sweden it is a real steal at 30€ a bottle

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

You made me reach for this (couldn't when I first read it because I was on call). Not sure I get all the flavours you do but I do notice some of them.

I seem to get a vegetal note particularly in the nose. I've noticed this with a few whiskies, including this one, Bladnoch 12, Nikka from the Barrel, Glenfarclas 15. I wonder if it's me?

I find it earthy. Very interesting. I like it, but I think I like what you taste better.

3 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@Nozinan, your sample is now gone so I'm going by memory, but yes I think there was an old-style vegetal note there.

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@talexander, I think I know where you can get your hands on more if you want some...

3 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

I got too much damn whisky already!

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

well, if you ever run low... my inventory isn't clearing so quickly.

3 years ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

Has anyone tried this recently? How does it compare to similar priced blends e.g JWBL or Tea Bag?

The latter, (Te Bheag, I know! ;) I opened last week and am two drams in and have to say I like what I'm getting, so could easily be tempted to get another bottle rather than take a plunge . . .

Thanks

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@RianC I don't think that Prohibition is as expensive as JW Blue label, at least not when it was available here. Probably as good, if I recall...

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Nozinan - ha! I meant black label as they're about the same price but have heard blue label isn't much to get excited about! About 5 x the price over here . . .

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@RianC , as someone who prefers the dark side of whisky (peat, industrial stuff, grimy stuff, funky stuff) over the sweet & clean side of whisky, I'd rank them like-a so:

  1. JW Black Label

  2. Tea Bag

  3. Cutty Prohibition

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@RianC I like to keep Prohibition for vatting purposes. Malty, although not as malty as Te Bheag (which as a note I don't like), with plenty low notes and very good sweetness, I use it to give some depth to a bland whisky or a slightly bitter one. I find it very good on its own but to sweet for my taste.

As for JWBL, it has been quite a while since I had a pour, but I would say that it has a better balance but will not provide you the originality the two others are offering as it is following the main current in which most blend are found.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@MadSingleMalt Reading the old reviews of Te Bheag makes me believe I didn't get a good botlle of it. Maybe I will revisit it.

Another blend that is very good and very affordable is Old Masters blend by Lombard, the bottle with all the Freemason's symbols. I really like the ginger note of that one.

about one year ago 0

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@RianC
RianC commented

Thanks for the feedback! I'll/We'll be putting our xmas order in with Master of Malt this weekend and I'm giddy as I've just been given an extra £50 to spend!

I've spent a month deciding only to have to weigh my options yet again . . . 'tis a cross I'll have to bear ;)

I like to have a blend on hand at all times so will probably give this a go over the others. I don't generally go for the sweeter stuff but the extra abv is intriguing me.

fwiw, Adelphi Private Reserve was a blend I had earlier this year and it was excellent with a small drop of water.

about one year ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@RianC Don't trust me or any other reviewer, but trust the consensus. If you go on Master of Malt, they describe the Old Master blend with words like Kiwi, Tangerine, Starfruit, Fruit tang and Allspice. Do I agree with them on all of it, probably not, but what we both have is an exotic fruit taste profile. It is very good, but don't expect another Compass Box Spice Tree.

about one year ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@Robert99 , I've had two bottles of Te Bheag (years apart) and they were pretty different.

•The one I brought home from Scotland in 2010 was lively & bracing. 85+

•The one I bought from Binny's when it started getting distributed in the USA in 2016 is more syrupy (in a bad way) and floral (again in a bad way). 70

As you say, most reviews are positive, so I'm inclined to think that my first bottle is more typical. But who knows, given batch variation and all that—especially with an NAS blend, where I imagine they're getting a different parcel of components to blend every time.

I'm optimistic enough about the brand to have bought a third bottle this year when I found it on clearance for $20. (Not open yet.)

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Robert99 - Thanks Robert. It does look intriguing and I'm beginning to appreciate more unusual tropical fruit notes. It has been added to my 'list'!

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@MadSingleMalt - There were well over 12 bottles I had to whittle down to around 3 - 5 price dependent.

One was running low on stock so it has made a literal last minute inclusion . . .

I've got the Benromach 15, Port Charlotte SB HP and the Cutty Sark (Robert's tip did make me wobble a bit more though on that one). I was also going to get the Glen Garioch 12 but there was a Port Dundas 12 single grain that had one bottle left so I went for that instead - all ready for my master blend concoction . . . ;)

Other notables on the list were Green Spot, Powers 12, The Big Strand (a young Caol Ila(?) at a good price), Balblair 1st release and lot 40, or is that 50?!

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

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