07 November 2013
Cutty Sark - Not Just for the Big Girl's Blouse
My old man was very proud of his Cutty Sark. His painting...not the Scotch. He was a gin martini man through and through and Beefeater gin was his go to. I don't ever remember him drinking anything else except beer, of which he gave no brand his loyalty, or the occasional glass of wine, which, if he knew anything, he learned from me.
His Cutty Sark painting was about an image - he knew - was instantly recognizable...at least by himself and his peers in the officer's clubs he frequented. My connection to Cutty Sark is through Berry Brothers and Rudd. A wine merchant in the Pall Mall area of London, I was first introduced to the 300 year old merchant via their catalogs a London friend, Vodka Ronnie, kept by his toilet. Not the most glorious of beginnings but Vodka Ronnie had very good taste in wine.
Barry & Rudd, as it's more commonly known, came up with the idea for a light blended Scotch as they were wine merchants and I assume didn't want to blow their customer's palettes outta the water with a double barrel Islay. Their target customer were Septics (Septic Tank- Yank) who were about to get back into Rub a Dubs (Rub a Dub- Pub) as Prohibition was coming to an end. With the Septic in mind, a 20 single malt blend was used with mostly Big Girl's Blouse Speyside (Glenrothes) being the predominant malt.
"Whis-KAY" as it's pronounced over there also sounds a lot like "Cut-TAY." When I hear one, I think of the other. I'm not sure why. It's a Lemmon-NAY Whis-KAY. Light and dry and being that it's not too dear, I think it's best to be mixed, which I did, with a $20 bottle. I tried it with Polar Bitter Lemon (find it - far better than Canada Dry) and it wasn't bad. I mixed it with lemon flavored seltzer and thought it completely changed the Cutty with the soda giving it a rounder and fuller taste of a scotch double the price. Impressive for those like me who are mean when it comes to their Whis-KAY.
I used it to make a Side Car replacing the brandy with Cutty -- A favorite of the tasting and something I look forward to ordering in a Rub a Dub, "Make mine a Cut-TAY side car, To-NAY." If you're thinking a Manhattan -- I wouldn't -- Although I did. There's just not enough backbone to the Cutty. Having said that, if you're a beginning Scotch drinker, this is the tricycle for you, in much the way Barry & Rudd always intended it to be, even if you are a big girl's blouse; I wear a 14.