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Cutty Sark Prohibition

Average score from 7 reviews and 8 ratings 85

Cutty Sark Prohibition

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Cutty Sark Prohibition

This tasting took place four years ago, Apr 16. Let's all drink it to Bill McCoy, honest bootlegger, decent smuggler, legit rum-runner, to whom this scotch is dedicated.

Clear, pale golden hue. Medium to intense aromas of black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla and toffee: spiced and sweet, reminiscent of what some clippers transported over the seas (I know the Cutty Sark herself transported either tea or wool, but nevermind.) There's also a hint of Valencia oranges.

When neat, it's surprising how the 50% ABV almost goes unnoticed: this blend is actually delicate, not burning. The sip starts bittersweet, then develops nice metal and umami flavors. An iceball (it was the trend back then) doesn't add anything relevant (I'd say it substracts) but after a long while, when half-melted, you can spot nice bitters and new metal touches along the throat.

I wonder if the added 4 years of aging had an effect on the review.

OTE - Old tasting effect.

Are you drinking anything these days?

@SKEPTIC Don't worry about the extra four years: I wrote the tasting down back then, so I have merely typed my handwritten notes. Thus, memory is not an issue. And as for what I'm drinking, it's old classics, nothing new as of yet.


Having never tried the standard, or any, Cutty Sark before I took a bit of a gamble on this one at Christmas. Well, not that much of a gamble as it as priced at under £25 which, for a NCF blend at 50% abv, is pretty good going.

There is a very charming story attached to this including bootlegging and all that jazz. Maybe there's some truth in it, who knows, right? But I'm always after the real McCoy.

This bottle has just under half left and has been open about two months. It's also reviewed with a few drops of water.

Nose: Malty and slightly oily with very little grain (I found this surprising given the abv to be honest). Black pepper, peat and some ginger spice - water seems to bring these out more. Quite a big hit of sweetness with toffee and vanilla dominating. Slight touch of herbal, sage or tarragon maybe? Good.

Taste: Creamy malt, good mouth feel, pepper and some more Asian/Indian cooking spice like cumin and coriander - there is a slight 'curry' note to this. I'm getting little, if any, grain here as well. Sweetness develops with toffee, maybe a little honey and more vanilla towards the finish.

Finish: More pepper, ginger and a little hit of the peat. Some slightly bitter tannins right at the death but a pleasant sweet syrup note remains for quite a while with it.

This has been a good find and I'm glad I followed the consensus and grabbed a bottle. It's perhaps a little on the sweetened/vanilla side for me but It has become more rounded after some air time; it was initially a bit cloying and had too much vanilla to begin with. Would definitely recommend this and will say again that given its presentation, high abv and cost you're getting excellent vfm. I take it out on the golf course in my hip flask and it works perfectly!


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.

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.

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.


The Prohibition – the so-called Noble Experiment – was repealed in 1933. This Cutty Sark was released exactly 80 years after that repeal, in 2013. Cutty Sark was one of the few whisky’s that you could actually enjoy – illicitly of course – in the so-called speak easy clubs. This Cutty Sark is bottled at a higher alcohol strengt hand matured completely on American oak.

On the nose I get bittersweet oranges, butterscotch and a truckload of heather honey. I cannot escape the feeling that I can still smell the mash. Barely any spices. After a few moments, but butterscotch turns to farmer’s butter and even mashed potatoes. I must say, I am not impressed.

The body is fine, the mouth feel is round and almost creamy. It starts of sweet, but immediately a rough and peppery note and a lot of liquorice prop up. The oranges turn very bitter and it has a sour edge that I cannot appreciate. In my opinion, it goes downhill pretty fast.

In the finish, which remains mildly spicy, another shot of citrus fruit and caramel manifests itself.

Pity, but this Prohibition is really not for me. Too rough. Around 30 EUR.

I understand why you gave this 74 points because it is a bit rough straight out of a newly opened bottle but after a few days of oxidation it mellows out nicely. There's a few people on Connesr, including myself, who like this blend quite a bit.

I kind=of liked this one. 50% ABV means less watered down flavour. I don't usually drink blends but I picked up a couple of these out west to share with some friends back home.


I’ve been wanting to try this for a very long time. @Victor has written some very nice things about it on Connosr. Thankfully, when I saw him in April I was able to come away with a small 1 oz sample.

This review is of ~10 cc. The sample bottle was full and I do not know when it was opened or decanted.


Neat - First impression - Fruity and very “malt”-like. After sitting in the glass 5 min, however, I get a vegetal note. Reminds me of my Bladnoch 12. The nose on initial hit was very pleasant, 23/25, but now it’s around 19. So I will give it a 21.

With the addition of 4 drops of water and 5 minutes in the glass, the vegetal smell has subsided a little. The fruitiness has returned a little.


Neat - Very interesting. A richness in mouthfeel, creaminess. The vegetal note translates into the palate. But there is a sweetness there as well. It’s not unpleasant. A little alcohol burn. A pleasant sour note. 21

With the water, there’s a creamy smoothness to it, more so than before.

Finish - The burn lasts a while. I get a saltiness on the finish. A little bitter. Then my tongue feels dry. 21. Water does not affect the finish.

Balance: A smooth, not unpleasant whisky. Not sure I would buy it because I would likely not choose it over the others in my cabinet. But definitely one of the better blends I’ve tried. 22

After writing the above I checked out @Victor’s review and he scores it a 87 to my 85. Probably within the margin of error. I agree it is quite bold in flavour.

I now get a hint of liquorice or anise on the palate (power of suggestion?).

I think as a blend this punches well above its weight. who am I kidding? If it were at the LCBO I’d probably get one.

@Nozinan, I'll have to see about getting bigger samples to you in the future. Of course if Canada would let me without paying for my own whisky twice, I would have been bringing more whisky to share with me/us on each of our trips to visit your lovely province of Ontario.

I am fascinated that this particular whisky, Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition, produces some kaleidoscopic effects which vary greatly from person to person. @Benancio, for example, finds Prohibition to be very sweet, while you mention sweetness in passing as one factor of several, and put more emphasis on the others.

I take from this that there is a lot going on here, and different individuals tend to focus on certain aspects more than others on an idiosyncratic basis, sort of like a Rorschach test. That seems like a pretty good definition of "complexity" to me.

@Nozinan. Nice review, sounds pretty right on. If I had only sampled a 10cc dram I might think it was sweet but not too sweet. I bought a bottle after reading Victory's review, guess I don't always agree with @Victor. I poured a nice 70 ml dram. By the end of the glass it was too sweet for me to pour another. I could probably pour 30 ml and enjoy it. I sampled another 30 ml at a later date and I found it to be a good whiskey and a great value. I'd give 82 points.

I did agree with Victor and many others that it makes a fantastic base whiskey to blend from. I mixed the remaining 650 ml with 100 ml Laphroaig Cask Strength. I liked it so much I'm on my second full bottle blend. I'd rate this blend 86 points. It's still sweet, really complex.


I read that this blend was very good for the price so I had to check it out by myself. Seriously, this blend has an ABV of 50 and you can have it for less than 40$ in Canada. That's put it in the same price range as Te Bheag.

So let's start with the nose. The nose reminded me of Glengoyne 10 to which you would add a hint of Clynelish 14 and grain. Then you have some vanilla, crystallized sugar and a whiff of smoke. With air vanilla and sugar increase and smoke decrease but you get some wood and spices.

The palate follow the nose. The malt is very nice and offer a nice support to the caramelized peach. The sugar and vanilla are coming back and are taking over and as the malt recessed, the grain reappears with some light fruitiness.

As this whisky opened the balance get better but it is still too sweet for me, but it will charmed those with a sweet tooth. The heavy notes are splendid, the malt is lighter than the Glengoyne 10 and doesn't play with a bitter note like the Glen, but the fruits are more opened specially with air. The finish is all on the sugar with a little fire of alcohol that brings some spices.

In conclusion, those who can cope with lots of sugar will love it and will brag about their buying. The others will wish for a release with less sugar. But I have to admit the quality is big for your money.

@Frost You are damn right about the ABV. Although there is some great blends at 46%, like Big Peat and the Spice Tree. But right now, I am looking for the Black Bull 12 at 50 ABV. My only hesitation is coming from the price over two times the price of Cutty Sark Prohibition.

@Robert99 a good review. Interesting to read about a blend with 50ABV. There should be more on the market IMO.


From the label: "Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition has been crafted as a salute to the notorious Captain William S. McCoy, who smuggled Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky into America during the Prohibition era of the 1920s. His impeccable reputation for only dealing in the finest, genuine, and unadulterated liquor- gave rise to Cutty Sark being referred to as 'The Real McCoy'."

Well, Also Sprach Edrington.

The bottle is charmingly dark, obscure, and bootleg-able-looking. The reviewed bottle has been open for 3 days. I'm not adding water here

Nose: medium-strong intensity, some acrid high-pitched smoke, black licorice from peat, noticeable brine, light grape-wine fruitiness, citrus, vanilla, and wheat grain. There is good balance, leaning toward the dry side. Nice

Taste: very full in the mouth, with stronger flavours than in the nose. Strong sweetness arrives early, then dries quickly mid-palate. The flavours are quite robust here. I like it

Finish: continues drying and settles on some nice smoke and brine, a touch of sweet wine in the background, and a hint of emerging sourness

Balance: there is a lot of complexity here...lots of different highly entertaining flavours. The balance among them is good but not great, yet the aggressiveness and intensity of some of the flavours battling one another is a lot of the fun with Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition. As inexpensive blended Scotch whisky goes, this is a very good one. If I had my way most blended Scotch would be bottled at 50+% abv

@Victor. Picked up Prohibition based on your review and a few others.

Neat it is everything in your review. I can also detect on the pallet, grain alcohol and a slight bitterness. Great burn to it that I really enjoy.

I added a 1/2 teaspoon of cold water and it improved. Less grain alcohol and bitterness with more scotch flavor. It smoothed out too, lost a little of the burn.

It's an 87 neat or with a little water, 2 slightly different blended scotches. I'm not really into blends but this is a Great value.

@maltmate302, I am delighted that you have enjoyed the Cutty Sark Prohibition, and that my review appraisal of it has been helpful to you. Your comment leads me to pour myself a glass of Prohibition. One thing that is difficult with Prohibition is that you never quite know how much you have left in the bottle.

If all blended Scotch were sold at 50% ABV, blended Scotch would have a lot more fans in this Connosr crowd.

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