Cutty Sark 33yo Tweet Tasting

13th May 2015

It’s Tweet Tasting time again, through Steve Rush (@TheWhiskyWire), the cocktail and “World’s Best New Bar” White Lyan (@WhiteLyan) and Cutty Sark (@CuttySarkBlend) and if that isn’t exciting enough we will also be joined by Kirsteen Campbell, Master Blender for Cutty Sark (@KCBlends).   #CuttySark33.

It’s been an amazing week for tweet tastings, having taken part in the inaugural Glenmorangie tasting on Monday 11th May (if you missed it, you can read all about it here), and now I find myself getting ready for a tasting in honour of the launch of the Cutty Sark Thirty Three Year Old Art Deco Expression.

I have been fortunate enough to try White Lyan’s mastery of cocktails before and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed, so here’s a list of what we are trying tonight:

First up – Cutty Sark Blended Whisky – 33 yo Art Deco Limited Edition.

Then on to the cocktails:

Artist’s Special which originated circa 1927, and contains:

Cutty Sark, Oloroso Sherry, redcurrant and lemon, to be poured into a frozen cocktails glass.

Seelback which originated circa 1917, and contains:

Cutty Sark, Triple Sec, and Bitters, which is to be poured into a chilled champagne flute (decadent I know) and topped up with 75ml fresh, fizzy soda water.

And last but by no means least;

Beeswax Old Fashioned, which originated 1800 – 1880(ish), this contains

Cutty Sark, Beeswax, bitters, and gold flakes, this is poured into a frozen whisky glass.

So enough talking, let’s get tasting!  First up:

Cutty Sark 33yo – 41.7% ABV

Cutty Sark 33yo
Cutty Sark 33yo

This limited edition bottling has been released to continue the exploration of the rich history, heritage and origin of Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky, with a specific focus on the exciting Art Deco period of the 1920s and early 1930s.  The expression is celebrating a time when Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky founds its way into America, flourished within the emerging cocktail culture and changed the face of Scotch whisky forever.

Nose:

Cashew nuts with honey and a digestive biscuit note followed with the fruity softness of peaches in syrup. Sticky fudge, warm and comforting before there is a gentle waxiness of furniture polish and fresh, green notes of balsa wood.

Vanilla emerges with restaurant quality Crème Anglaise before a tangy lemon sorbet brings a fresh citrus note in yet keeps the sweet dessert theme before a hint of soya candles adds a creamy waxiness.  Given a little longer in the glass some darker fruits start to emerge with prunes, raisins cherries and some rum.  There are an array of spices that are starting to emerge, with black cracked pepper, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger and ground spice.  There’s an oloroso sherry note, which is sticky dark and sweet, ground spice and kiwi fruits make themselves known with an undercurrent of honeydew melon sweetness.

Palate:

Despite the initial sweetness on the nose the first note I can detect is dark and woody, like walking round a dunnage warehouse on a winters day, next up is some pink peppercorn prickle, it’s hotter than I expected, but never too hot.  The fruits come through with warm pineapples and mango, and fresh mint, griddled and drizzled in butterscotch sauce.

There is a gentle damp, mustiness of old books, with soft leather saddles, dried apricots and fresh, tart cranberries.  There is a resin note, like French polish before spices dominate once again.  There’s heat from cloves and cinnamon, but as this tails off the sweet notes swarm back in with honey, golden syrup pudding, a burnt edge of cinder toffee and warm figs with vanilla cream and lashings of chewy, sticky, warm toffee, which all serve to calm the palate.

Finish:

Melted milk chocolate, warm figs, dates and layer upon layer of caramel carry through from both the nose and the palate.   There is a walnut bitterness and a dash of spices coming through.  There is fresh oak, intermingled with damp tree bark and a hint of cedar which dries out to a tannic, tea leaf finish.

Artist’s Special

Cutty Sark, Oloroso Sherry, redcurrant and lemon, to be poured into a frozen cocktails glass.

Review:

Artist’s Special
Artist’s Special

Unmistakable Oloroso influence which is at once sweet, sticky and fruity.  There are plump raisins, soft inviting figs and chewy prunes, just as this becomes almost too sweet this is then broken up with the freshness of lemon, raspberries and redcurrant, without the Olorose it would be too tart, but as a sum of all parts this cocktail is rich, decadent and inviting.  The guys at White Lyan know their stuff!  I would happily drink this all night.

Seelbach 

Cutty Sark, Triple Sec, and Bitters, which is to be poured into a chilled champagne flute (decadent I know) and topped up with 75ml fresh, fizzy soda water.

Seelbach
Seelbach

Review:

Lovely and fruit with soft berry richness, this is then cut through with some star anise and blackjacks (remember those from school days, they stuck to your teeth for about a week, but tasted amazing). There’s honey starting to come through and gentle puffs of smoke that whirl around your mouth like a tornado.  There’s a hint of salted lemons and blackberries with fizzy strawberry laces.  The whisky starts to dominate and imparts some rich dry oak and some nuttiness.  I love the herbal notes that are starting to develop with both rosemary and lemon mint making an appearance.  To say this is really good is not doing this cocktail justice!  More please.

Beeswax Old Fashioned

Cutty Sark, Beeswax, bitters, and gold flakes, this is poured into a frozen whisky glass.

Beeswax Old Fashioned
Beeswax Old Fashioned

Review:

Ok, so I’m not a fan of the Old Fashioned, there I said it, so it was with great trepidation I poured this, but things changed as soon as I opened the bottle.

The nose is fantastic, with liquid honey, good quality milk chocolate and a slight nuttiness.   I could be nosing a liquid Toblerone here!   Next up are rich oranges, with orange oils and zest.  This is how all old fashioned cocktails should taste.  The honey sweetness coupled with the melted Crayola note is quite simply amazing, and I presume this is down to the beeswax, there are also home baking spices with a little fresh gingerbread, nutmeg and vanilla.

Overall thoughts

What a night! I could tell you all night long how amazing the Cutty Sark 33 Year Old is, I could write and write, but the really the best advice I can give you is to go and buy a bottle, fast, while you still can.  This will not hang around for long.  This blend is perfectly balanced and wonderfully complex, it constantly evolves with a finish you never tire of.

The fun really started with the cocktails, not that the Cutty Sark wasn’t fun, but it is too special to call it merely fun.  Three cocktails from the guys from White Lyan, they were all superb, any bad points?  Yes, they didn’t last long enough, but I suspect that is down to me, so I’ll take the blame.  If you live in London and you have not already visited them, then why not?? Go there, now, well once you’ve finished reading this of course.  Tell them Whisky Corner sent you, and while telling them that, ask them to send me some more cocktails, all in the name of research of course.

Kirsty (@kirstyclarke29)

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