Cutty Sark (whisky)

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Cutty Sark
A bottle of Cutty Sark
TypeScotch Whisky
ManufacturerThe Edrington Group
Country of originScotland
Introduced23 March 1923
Alcohol by volume40%

Cutty Sark is a range of blended Scotch whisky produced by Edrington plc of Glasgow, whose main office is less than ten miles from the birthplace of the famous clipper ship of the same name. The whisky was created on 23 March 1923 as a product of Berry Bros. & Rudd, with the home of the blend considered to be at The Glenrothes distillery in the Speyside region of Scotland. The name comes from the River Clyde–built clipper ship Cutty Sark, whose name came from the Scots language term "cutty-sark", the short shirt [skirt] prominently mentioned in the famous poem by Robert Burns, "Tam o' Shanter". The drawing of the clipper ship Cutty Sark on the label of the whisky bottles is a work of the Swedish artist Carl Georg August Wallin. He was a mariner painter, and this is probably his most famous ship painting. This drawing has been on the whisky bottles since 1955. The Tall Ships' Races for large sailing ships were originally known as The Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Races, under the terms of sponsorship by the whisky brand.

US distribution[edit]

Cutty Sark was originally distributed in the United States by Buckingham Co.,[1] which was acquired by Allied Lyons (later Allied Domecq) in 1989.[2] Skyy Spirits bought the distribution rights from Allied Domeq in 1999.[3] After Edrington acquired the brand, it switched US distribution from Skyy to Rémy Cointreau USA.[4] Edrington launched its own distribution unit in the US in 2014.[5][6]


The most popular member of the range, Cutty Sark Original Scots Whisky, is sold in a distinctive green bottle with a yellow label. The range also includes other blends, and premium blends, currently identified by the age of the youngest whisky in the blending


Cutty Sark has received modest reviews from international spirit ratings organisations. In 2008, 2009, and 2011 for example, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition awarded the Cutty Sark blended scotch bronze and silver medals. The Beverage Testing Institute gave Cutty Sark modest scores of 85 and 87 in 2008 and 2011, respectively.[7]

Cutty Sark in modern fiction[edit]

Cutty Sark makes an appearance in many novels by Haruki Murakami, most notably The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, 1Q84, and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. It is a character's favourite drink in the 1978 novel The Human Factor by Graham Greene. Cutty Sark is one time favourite drink of Clive Cussler's hero Dirk Pitt and also of Cussler himself, who is featured as a bit character in most of his novels. A bottle of Cutty Sark vintage 1985 is mentioned to be worth a fortune in science fiction novel Lies, Inc. by Philip K. Dick. In Yukio Mishima's 1971 novel The Decay of the Angel, Cutty Sark is the whiskey of choice for Honda, the main character.

James Hadley Chase refers to Cutty Sark in several of his crime novels. In the second part of the 2009 novel Invisible by Paul Auster, the protagonist Adam Walker serves Cutty Sark on ice to his sister Gwyn, just before supposedly seducing her. Cutty Sark is often referenced by the main character in Thomas Sherry's novel, Deep Winter. Rick Drummond keeps a bottle at hand for very special occasions. Other characters immediately recognise how valuable the bottle is when supplies soon become scarce.

In Stephen King's short story "The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands", published in his collection of short stories Skeleton Crew, the narrator and his friends drink Cutty Sark as they play poker.

Cutty Sark featured in the film Pawn Sacrifice (starring Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fischer and Liev Schreiber as Boris Spassky. In the film The Associate, Whoopi Goldberg plays character Laurel Ayres who has to quickly create a fictional white man's name. She is inspired by a bottle of Cutty Sark and uses the name Robert S. Cutty.

Cutty Sark is featured in the film Green Book, in which the character Don Shirley, played by Mahershala Ali, requires that his driver/bodyguard, Tony "Lip" Vallelonga, played by Viggo Mortensen, makes sure that a bottle of Cutty Sark is made available daily in his sleeping quarters. Don is seen frequently taking a drink from this bottle.

Cutty Sark is the mentioned in Gary Paulsen's young adult novel, The Crossing, which tells the story of an alcoholic sergeant who helps a young boy immigrate to El Paso.

Cutty Sark also features in the film Goodfellas as cases of it are transported from the back of a truck into a restaurant.

Cutty Sark is drunk in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 2 episode "The Gang Runs for Office".

"Cutty Sark" is the title of a long section of Hart Crane's poem sequence "The Bridge." In the poem the poet drinks whiskey with a sailor and traveler at a bar in Manhattan, then walks home across Brooklyn Bridge.

In the 2007 film "Gone Baby Gone", at 1:22:58 during a scene titled by Miramax as "Bressant's Last Stand", Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) are interrogating Lionel McCready (Titus Welliver) at the bar Murphy's Law in Boston. When the interrogation becomes heated, Lionel (Welliver), slams his fist down on the table at which he is sitting and demands service; to the responding waitress he asks of "three shots of Cutty and a tallboy".

Cutty 12 makes an appearance in Mad Men Season 7, Episode 2 “A Day’s Work” when Pete pours a glass after a phone call.


  1. ^ "Buckingham Corp. - Lehman Brothers Collection". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  2. ^ Ap (1989-12-23). "COMPANY NEWS; Allied-Lyons Is Buying Whitbread Liquor Unit". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  3. ^ Hein, Kenneth (2001-03-12). "Cutty Serves 20-Something Men Another Helping of Cheesecake". Brandweek. 42 (11): 16. ISSN 1064-4318.
  4. ^ "US: Edrington Group moves Cutty Sark distribution from Skyy Spirits to Remy Cointreau". 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  5. ^ "Edrington To Cut Ties With Rémy Cointreau in US Market". WhiskyCast. 2013-06-13. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  6. ^ "Edrington Launches Edrington Americas". 2014-05-01. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  7. ^ " Summary Page for Cutty Sark". Retrieved 2012-10-21.

Further reading[edit]

  • Buxton, Ian, ed. (2011). Cutty Sark: The Making of a Whisky Brand. Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 978-1780270265.

External links[edit]