|Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky|
I am always on the hunt for a reasonably priced blended scotch. Cutty Sark occupies a spot on the shelves of liquor stores around the world that is devoted to 'economy blends.' In other words, bottom shelf scotch.
We know some of the suspects occupying space on the bottom shelf are bad characters . . . Ballantine's Finest, J&B and Bell's. Horribly sweet swill suitable only for lighting your hibachi barbecue!
You also know that there are some great economy blends: Teacher's Highland Cream, Black Bottle, Islay Mist, White Horse and a few others. The question for us to consider today is what camp does 'Cutty Sark' fall into? The Good? The Bad? or the Ugly? Inquiring minds want to know. C'mon, let's see what it's like . . .
Malty, ale, apples and dandelion. Not offensive in the least. I'm surprised.
Certainly is sweet. Malty. Fruit cocktail in heavy syrup. Honey Crisp apples. Vanilla is lurking in the background.
The vanilla sweetness becoming more of a gently spiced malt. Warming too. You are also left with a teensy weensy puff of smoke. The finish is very short (meaning the flavors do not linger very long) and so I suppose the serious whisky critic would take some points off for that attribute of this whisky. I am willing to overlook that small deficiency in light of the cheap price for a bottle.
I am quite surprised by this blend. I like it! It is not the best of the economy blended scotch whisky category. However, Cutty Sark is a good, everyday sipper that meets the basic needs of decent scotch. What are those basic requirements? They are: (1) no nasty bite; (2) no taste of unadulterated rubbing alcohol; (3) not bitter, and (4) not grainy.
What is worthy of note is how it is so sweet, yet not cloyingly so. Cloying sweetness is the failure of many economy blended scotch whiskies like Ballantine's Finest, J & B and Bells. To succeed, a blend has to do something with the sweetness and Cutty Sark has managed just that. Sweetness has to go somewhere. It cannot build indefinitely, otherwise it will become overwhelming by the finish.
Cutty Sark, by the time of the finish, transitions to lemons! Lemons as in lemon meringue pie. There's a puff of smoke too. Real pleasant and very quaffable. The bottle just disappears because it is so easy-drinking.
If I were to summarize the Cutty Sark flavor profile in a brief line, something that would be acceptable to Twitter (I don't have an account . . . probably like the only living soul on the planet) I would say: "a sweet, light malt experience, serving up fruit cocktail, with a finish of drying vanilla and lemon with just a touch of smoke."
|Cutty Sark on ice!|
Cutty Sark on Ice?
I don't recommend it.
If you are just putting your little toe in the lake of scotch whisky, I can understand your preference to add ice to blended scotch whisky. You want your whisky to be smooth, avoid that bite, and certainly tone down the graininess and alcohol taste that is typical of many bottom shelf blended scotch whiskies. Cutty Sark is one of those blends that actually does not need ice added to it for the scotch newbie. It is smooth enough, gentle enough, that you can sip neat. Yeah, newbie, neat. I said neat. You can do it. Just take a little sip and evaluate it. If there was ever a blended scotch whisky to cut your teeth on for the purpose of sipping neat, this is the one!
I find for the serious whisky fan, adding ice will add no benefit to the tasting experience. Ice tends to bring out a raw alcohol and grainy flavor that is not present when enjoyed neat. Ice? Like the Reagan era public advertisement on drugs: "Just say no!"
Value for Money?
Absolutely! A lot of the reviews online, I am told by readers, are negative on Cutty Sark. You know what? I don't care what they think. I happen to like Cutty, but you have to appreciate that a lot of my appreciation has to do with the price point. I am getting great value for money. Some reviewers online tear this blended scotch apart, but are their comments fair? To be fair, please compare apples to apples. To compare Cutty Sark to a single malt and say it misses the mark is like saying a Mercedes handles the road better than a Hyundai. That's not rocket science! When I compare Cutty Sark to other bottom shelf blends in its price point, I am mightily satisfied that I am getting good value for money.
I do not care what the critics think of my affection for Cutty Sark! I like it. It is a simple, straight forward blend that delivers a pleasant lemon/marmalade flavor at a reasoable price that I have no reservation with shelling out for as I sail around the lake this summer.
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