Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Cutty Sark - 33 year old "Art Deco" - Review

Hello there.  Things have been a little quiet on the "Whisky Belfast" front recently as I've been off enjoying a road trip around the west coast of Ireland, but now that I'm back in Belfast you can expect things  to move along quite nicely indeed.

To kick things off I've decided to post a quick fire review of a sample I've been meaning to taste for a while.

Back in November of last year collectors of old and fine whiskies were given a treat when Cutty Sark, the iconic blended whisky with the yellow label, released a 33 year old expression.

Named "Art Deco" this limited edition release came about as Cutty Sark continue to explore the rich history, heritage and origin of their brand.  This release specifically focused on the exciting Art Deco period of the 1920s and early 1930s.  Celebrating a time when Cutty Sark found its way into America and "flourished within the emerging cocktail culture and changed the face of Scotch whisky forever".

The release was limited to 3,456 bottles, was bottled at 41.7 ABV and came with a RRP of £650.

Onto my notes:

Nose - Rich orange, wood sap, a little old damp dustiness and it's worth noting the thick consistency in the glass.  Red apple and a little lemon but this stays firmly on the rich side of things.  A naturally indulgent nose.  Hardly any spices, just orchard fruits and blackberries.  There's a touch of soapiness in here, which might be mineral in nature, and at this age I'm not even going to bother adding any water.  Incredibly smooth with no hot notes of alcohol.  "Dairy Milk" fruit & nut chocolate and we continue with apples in the guise of warm apple crumble.  A slight melted butter note comes towards the end and with more time this only gets dustier and dustier in the glass.  Awesome nose!!

Palate - Quite spirit heavy which wasn't apparent on the nose.  This arrives with the dusty notes from the nose.  Old wood is obvious and gives away to the apples - cooked, ripe, stewed, every sort.  Seville orange marmalade and now a little mixed spice balanced with wood spice.  A little more wood sap, lemon drops and after a while this turns to pure fruit juice in the mouth.  The blackberry on the nose is more of a raspberry on the palate.

Finish - Short with some wood spice and red apple.

Overall this is a bit of a mixed bag.  Really enjoyable on the nose, good on the palate and disappointing on the finish.  I love the older style aromas that old whiskies offer up but I'm beginning to find the short finish a common theme amongst the older blends.  Dare I say it that, with blended whisky, it's possible for them to become too old???  Maybe they can but they will still be released while people are prepared to pay for "premium" product.  I've yet to find a blended whisky that I'd pay anywhere near £100 for let alone £650.

Until next time,




PS - Thanks to Jamie for the sample.


  1. I paid near enough £100 for Mackinlay's Old Highland Malt - otherwise known as Shackleton's Whisky - and loved it! And yes - it is a blend.

    1. Cheers for comment. I've heard good things about that whisky and will have to look out for it but I've tried quite a few others and just haven't been impressed to the price they sell for.