Whisky Reviews

Cutty Sark


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As I’m not the biggest drinker of blended malts in the world, I’ve only really had a select few and out of them I only like half a handful. To cut a long story short, I thought it was about time I added another expression to my list of blends that have had the pleasure of ending up in my belly. As I didn’t really have one in mind when I hit the shops I picked up the first that appealed to me, which just so happened to be Cutty Sark.

While I’ve heard of it before, I can’t really recall hearing or reading too many opinions on it and I seem to remember what I have heard being neutral. That said, most of the opinions I come across are from whisky snobs and many of them won’t really give blended whisky a proper, open-minded chance. So here I am with, a dram of Cutty Sark in front of me, ready to be dazzled by the bouquet of scents and virtual explosion of flavors that one would expect from a blend that claims to consist of only the finest Scotch whisky. With my senses fresh and mind open, I bring the glass to my nose and take a deep breath through my eagerly waiting nostrils and – sigh, there’s not much there.

Perhaps the stuff that is there is good, though? A fair question, dear reader, but unfortunately what is there is actually rather unpleasant. A bit of oak, some citrus, and that unmistakable smell of morning breath the day after a bender. Based on what the nose made of this concoction I don’t really like taking a sip, as I’m sure you’ll understand, but I feel obligated to – I’ll do it for you, dear reader. It’s initially rather rough – a bit like being beaten across the face by a mad Polish person armed with a stiffened trout -and quite warming, once you rid it from your mouth there isn’t much of a finish to speak of. Upon taking a further couple of sips, though, the crazy Polish person tires slightly and rather than beating you he sort of just strokes your face – still not too comfortable a situation to find yourself it, but much more bearable. You may find some light oak and citrus flavors, perhaps some vanilla too, but they are all rather too light.

It may be OK as a mixer, though I doubt it would bring much flavor to whatever you mix it with, but I’d probably steer clear (puntastic) of this one.

Color: Light sunray.

Nose: Oak, citrus, morning breath.

Taste: Harsh, light vanilla, citrus and oak.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: USA & World (click)UK & Europe (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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  1. J

    October 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Why pick on Poles so much?

  2. Jason's Scotch Whisky Reviews

    October 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Cutty Sark, J&B and Ballantines are all pretty terrible.

    There are a few good blends though: Teacher’s and White Horse.

  3. martin

    October 21, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    J: So much, once? I didn’t mean to offend, and you can feel free to substitute Pole with Scotsman or any other nationality if you so wish. I chose Pole because, frankly, a lot of the ones I’ve come across – the blokes, anyway – have been rather tall and large.

    Jason: I’m partly of the opinion that blends deserve a slightly better reputation than they have. Yes, there are plenty out there that are absolute rubbish, but there are a few gems as well. 🙂

  4. Jason's Scotch Whisky Reviews

    October 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Martin, I agree. For me, Johnnie Walker Black is a fine favorite of mine that I never tire of.

    By the way, like the site. Just discovered it a couple of days ago. Cheers!

  5. Doug

    September 29, 2011 at 4:28 am

    I just dug out an old bottle of Cutty and I have to agree with you. Harsh, light vanilla, citrus and oak though this one has been aging a few years forgotten in the garage. It does however have a decent linger.

    I think it better than Ballantines but not great. A blended Scotch (which has gotten bad reviews) I like but can’t find stateside is Bells Scotch Whiskey. It is sweet but I found it pleasant and well filtered for a blend.

    Thanks for the review.

  6. Andy

    February 4, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Agree with the harsh! WOW. I think I can recreate the taste by tossing a handful of wood chips into a vat of cheap vodka and letting it sit for a week.

  7. micha

    April 12, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Just found a bottle of Cutty Sark, full of dust after 30+ years in the unused bar at my in laws.
    Waiting for the next gathering of my “single malt cronies” to open it.
    To survive the experiment, and keep my good name intact, a bottle of 18 yo Talisker will be used to cleanse our throats

  8. Mad Pole

    May 25, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    As a Pole, I am not offended by this review. Indeed, I think it’s an appropriate comparison. J, have you never seen a Pole wielding two large & stiffened fish akimbo? I promise you it’s a sight to behold.

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