Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tasting notes: Cutty Sark Prohibition

A while ago -- like, nine or ten months ago -- I got a cheerful email asking if I'd be interested in a free sample of Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition.

At the time, I had already made fun of their "Real McCoy" ad campaign. But free whisky is free whisky --
-- yes, I know, by taking free whisky I'm compromising the integrity and independence of my tasting notes. But my palate is garbage and my tasting notes are nonsense, so what's the loss? And if I really wanted to ingratiate myself with the industry, wouldn't I have written this review nine months ago? --
-- so I said sure. I was expecting a little sample vial, or maybe a miniature, but in fact I was given an entire 750 ml bottle. (I suppose that makes as much economic sense as anything else they do as outreach to bloggers.)

Hard to tell how much is left.
I wanted to do a comparison tasting with the common or garden Cutty Sark, so I kept my eyes open for a miniature (I wasn't about to but a fifth of the stuff just for a comparison tasting). The months went by, no Cutty Sark minis turned up, the bottle of Prohibition got set aside, and... I am on Burns Night 2015, finally getting around to writing my nonsense tasting notes on a Scotch I've already had half a bottle of.

Nose: sweet, orange cream, sherry, touch of green twigs, tiniest bit of sulphur
Palate: Rich, full mouthfeel, I want to say maybe a bit winey or raisiny.
Finish: touch of ash, citrus pith

With a bit of water, floral notes came out, with maybe a bit of marsh gas. The finish was shorter, with more pepper.

I happened to have some trail mix on hand, so I experimented. A few raisins flattened out and soured the taste. A couple of roasted almonds emphasized the sweetness, and maybe brought out a bit of citrus and chocolate. A handful of the mix, including peanuts and M&Ms, and the Scotch was quite happy and satisfying -- or, possibly, it was happy and satisfying because I was at the end of my tasting, and I am generally happier drinking whiskey than explaining what it's like to drink whiskey.

On the whole, I'd say it's a good, robust blend, bottled at 50% abv so it shouldn't get lost in a cocktail*. Not the sort that needs a lot of analysis, it's clearly above the entry level Cuttys and Dewar'ses and such, though not at the level of the 12 yo blends. I'd like to know more about the thinking that went into creating the blend, if it could be done without any of that guff about it being "crafted as a salute to the notorious Captain William McCoy."

* I've heard this doesn't actually mix too well. In the interest of science, I've just mixed a whiskey punch with a bit of sugar, some hot water, two dashes of Fee Bros. lemon bitters, and a dram of Cutty Sark Prohibition. It makes quite a nice, hearty drink, but thinking about it I wouldn't use this for any cocktail that calls for finesse.

No comments:

Post a Comment