Review: Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition Blended Scotch Whisky

cutty sark prohibition edition

Cutty Sark, from Scotland, brings us this upscale bottling in celebration of… Prohibition? An American phenomenon? Bear with us. “Cutty Pro” as it’s being taglined, “salutes the notorious Captain William McCoy, who courageously smuggled Cutty Sark into American speakeasies. McCoy possessed an infamous reputation as a distributor of the highest quality products, always genuine and never adulterated, giving rise to Cutty Sark’s affectionate nickname, ‘The Real McCoy.’ The black opaque bottle design and cork seal are a respectful hat tip to the type of whisky bottles prevalent during the Prohibition era.”

You see: It’s what Scotch tasted like during Prohibition.

To be honest, this is not my favorite blend, or even my favorite expression of Cutty. The nose is thick, offering fuel oil notes, dense cereal, and some hospital character. The body is on the burly side — Prohibition-era drinkers had it rough, I suppose — though it speaks more of the bathtub than the frontier. A bit swampy and smoky, it’s got a cacophony of flavors that run the gamut from iodine to rock salt to wilted grains to tree moss. Where this takes me is not to a Prohibition-era speakeasy but rather an industrial town in Scotland where some wacky whisky blender is trying to figure out something to do with a bunch of random casks.

100 proof.

C+ / $30 / cutty-sark.com

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2 Responses

  1. Doug in Virginia March 14, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    I’ll grant you, it’s a little spirited – like putting a spoonful of pepper in your mouth – but they tell you right on the bottle to water it. Remember, they were selling to gangsters, who were bound to dilute it, so I figure it’s a concentrate. I use it to add a bit of pizzazz to my blends, especially if something seems a bit bland or boring. Even at 5%, added with an eyedropper, it cuts right through. Used properly, CS Pro is the cat’s meow.

  2. Josh July 27, 2015 / 11:47 am

    I had a pretty different experience with this one than you did. I didn’t get nearly as much of the smoky, phenolic, and industrial notes – Vanilla and creamy cereals dominated the palate for me. It can be a bit boozy at first, but I find that adding a few drops of water and letting it sit in the glass for a few minutes really dials down the burn and opens up the other flavors.

    I really love this blend, but to each their own!

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