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Cutty Sark time–Tasting a quartet of Sarks

16 May 2012 2,398 views Written by: Gal Granov

logo_cuttysarkA  few weeks ago I was supposed to be taking part in a twitter tasting event featuring Cutty Sark. This event was hosted by my friend Steve of the Whisky Wire blog, who’s in the habit of organizing such twitter tasting fu n events. I was all ready and psyched for the event, but sadly thanks to the infamous Israeli mail services (or was it Cutty Sark who posted the samples too late) I only got the samples the day AFTER the event. Rather annoying, but things happen. I am not a guy that will give up an opportunity of tasting 4 such expressions back to back, so I set a wee tasting evening for myself, with those four little beauties. Cutty Sark is not a stranger to me, and we do get most of their expressions in Israel (at a good price, mind you. I think that the 18 year old is cheaper here than in the UK. shocking, eh? this is due to a cut throat sale that has been going on here for a few months now).

So, last night I decided it’s time to conduct a vertical tasting of those samples. Here are my notes.

Cutty Sark Blended Scotch, NAS , 40% ABV , £17cutty-sark-blended-scotch-whisky

This is the entry level Cutty Sark, should be light bodied and easy drinking, as it is aimed to be consumed in hotter climates originally.

Nose: Starts with a  bit of alcohol  bite then it’s fairly Fruity and sweet with Malty notes , Grass and  with pears and apples.

Palate: A bit sharp with a solid Malty backbone. Vanilla and some oak are also there.

Finish: Rather short. Fruity and dry.

Don’t Expect great things from this one, it’s an easy drinker, would guess most people would consume it with some ice. Fair for the price.

Score: 72 / 100

Cutty Sark 12 year old , 40% ABV , £29cutty-sark-12-year-old-whisky

Now we’re moving on to something more interesting and with a bit more finesse and complexity.

Nose: Sweet with honey and soft fruit. Buttery feeling to it, Stewed apples and dried apricot

Palate : Honey sweetness. Dark chocolate. Sherry goodness. Creamy and fresh at the same time.

Finish: Chocolate & fruit cake.

All in all a very decent blend, on the sweet side, Just what you would expect from a 12 year old blend. rounded. If you are looking for some smoke or peat, look elsewhere. this blend is not playing this game.

Score: 79/100

Cutty Sark  18 year old, 44% ABV , £52cutty-sark-18-year-old-whisky

Nose: Thicker and Spicier than the 12 year old, with rich sherry and  Honey liquor. You can also detect whiffs of gentle  peat smoke, which were nowhere to be found in the previous expressions.

Palate: Sweet sherry with quite a bit of spice. Then moving to  Chocolate fondant with bits of ripe orange, and candied orange peel.

Finish: Bonbons , Cocoa powder &  Dried fruit.

This one is really a few notches better than the rest of the range. Complex, rich and a lot of sherry influence over here. Solid stuff.

Score: 84/100

Cutty Sark Tam o’Shanter 25 year old , 46.5% ABV , £199tamoshanter

And not for something completely different!

This expressions is rather new and was just introduced . this whisky’s unique name, which was originally inspired by the famous clipper now resting in Greenwich, London.

It is also  the first expression created by Cutty Sark Master Blender Kirsteen Campbell, and is a development of the acclaimed Cutty Sark 25 year old .

The name ‘Cutty Sark’ was selected by the builders of the famous clipper from the poem Tam o’Shanter, penned by Robert Burns in 1791. The tale, recently revealed as Scotland’s favourite Burns poem*, tells the story of an Ayrshire man, Tam, who when riding home from the pub one evening happens across a gathering of witches and warlocks. One of the witches, Nannie, who is described to be wearing a short shirt, or ‘Cutty Sark’, chases after Tam, but only manages to catch the tail of his horse before he makes his escape. A limited edition as only 5,000 bottles have been created.

Nose: Much darker and more complex then the previous ones:  Jasmine, Wood,Tobacco. Spices. Cardamom &  cinnamon. Mulled wine. Touch of balsamic and blood oranges. It’s like sitting in an old leather sofa in a private club, sipping whisky and eating blood oranges with chocolate covering.

Palate: Whoa! Orange peel covered with dark chocolate and  Apricots. A lot more wood than previous expressions. Dried fruit. Cinnamon. Hazelnuts. Big sherry influence here. As in Oloroso Sherry. Very good stuff.

Finish : Long spicy and  bitter chocolate. Dried fruit going a long way.

Lovely stuff. Rich as hell. Thick. Rewarding. Ace. I think it’s my favourite. A

Score: 89/100

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