Whisky of the week – Cutty Sark.

A large Cutty Sark  by the Cutty Sark on a sunny summer’s evening at the Trafalgar Tavern, an inn that has stood guard by the old Naval College in Greenwich, London for 180 years. What could be finer?

Cutty Sark is a range of blended Scotch Whisky from home-town heroes Edrington. Named after the Cutty Sark, the fastest of all the 19th century Tea clippers that plied their trade over tempestuous seas from China to Britain, and built 10 miles down the river Clyde from Glasgow in Dumbarton.

The ship herself is beautifully displayed in Greenwich, just yards from the tavern, following years of painstaking renovation. Even static in her glass cage her sleek lines scream speed. The east India teak and American elm timbers encasing the skeletal iron above a keel kept true by a rudder of English oak shout of strength and stamina. As the wind rattles through the rigging you can feel her straining to be free. She’s a thing of beauty, a testament to the ingenuity of a tiny island nation defined by its relationship with the sea.

Times have changed since Dickens set the wedding breakfast in Our Mutual Friend in the Trafalgar Tavern. Upstream today, there’s a gleaming cruise ship berthed opposite the Poplar Rowing club boathouse. One of those towering multi-storied madnesses always looking as if it should capsize in even a faint blow. The river is no longer the, rather pungent, main artery of London commerce it once was, but the occasional tug still chugs upstream hauling cluttered barges and the odd local or two still mudlarks  around the exposed sandbanks looking for exposed ancient riches as the Thames hits slack water.

Nearly a century old, Cutty Sark, the whisky, was first created by Berry Bros. & Rudd in 1923 with the spiritual home (pun intended) of the blend being the Glenrothes distillery in Speyside. The fastest whisky in the world is an eay to drink blended scotch, light in colour and flavour, and ‘born to mix’ as the marketeers will tell you.

In the 36 dgree heat of this hazy London afternoon, I choose to pair a Cutty Sark on the rocks with a Blue Moon wheat beer, rather than taking it tall. I know the zesty citrus wheat chaser will complement the whisky well.

Tasting Notes

If the empire had been built on whisky rather than gin mankind would be on Mars by now.

The Nose:  Sweet orange, apples and toffee,

The Palate: Clean, balanced, sweet and lively. Crisp apple and citrus fruits with hints of vanilla and caramel.

The Finish: Short, sharp and to the point. Sweet vanilla fades to a gently spiced maltiness with a hint of smoke.

Cutty Sark is a versatile whisky. It’s a smooth blend, golden and bright, smooth, vibrant, sweet and uplifting.
It doesn’t need ice, but it works well with it, further flavours released as it melts.
It can be sipped neat, or with your mixer of choice.
It makes a great hightball, whether flavoured or simply with soda.

Smooooth sailiing!

Roadtested at the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London, England.