Cutty Sark (whisky)

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Cutty Sark
A bottle of Cutty Sark
Type Scotch Whisky
Manufacturer The Edrington Group
Country of origin Scotland
Introduced March 23, 1923
Alcohol by volume 40%

Cutty Sark is a range of blended Scotch whisky produced by Edrington plc of Glasgow, whose main office is less than 10 miles from the birthplace of the famous clipper ship of the same name. The whisky was created on March 23, 1923 as a product of Berry Brothers & 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.


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.[1]

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. In Charles Bukowski's novel Women, there is a scene where the protagonist Henry Chinaski fights over a bottle of Cutty Sark with his girlfriend. Eventually the bottle is broken and he takes a sip from what's left at the bottom. Also Cutty Sark is one time favourite drink of Clive Cussler's hero Dirk Pitt and also of Clive Cussler who is featured as a bit part 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.

Cutty Sark also featured in the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas (1990). During one scene Tommy De Vito (played by Joe Pesci) is heard to order a Cutty and water, a drink of choice of many mobsters at the time.[citation needed] James Hadley Chase also 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. Cutty Sark is also mentioned in the Wesley Willis song "Drink that Whiskey". Cutty Sark was the drink of choice for baseball superstar Ted Williams, according to Ben Bradlee Jr., author of the recently published "The Kid." Cutty Sark was the drink of Ike Evans on the television show Magic City. Cutty Sark was also the drink of Sid Abbott on the famous British television sitcom Bless this house.

Cutty Sark also featured in the film Pawn Sacrifice (2014) starring Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fischer and Liev Schreiber as Boris Spassky. In the (1996) movie 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 was also featured in The Cleveland Show (2011) in an episode titled "Die Semi-Hard." Auntie Mama gets the bottle as a Christmas gift, and during a gift exchange, the local pastor remarks, "Usually, I'm about Noah's Ark, but tonight, In all about the Cutty Sark!" He then snatches the bottle from her hands.

Cutty Sark gets a mention in Richard Matheson's 1971 short story "Duel" (which was the basis of the 1971 Steven Spielberg made-for-television film of the same name).

Cutty Sark makes an appearance in Lupin the Third Part II (1979) episode "Dangerous Dreamers" as "Kutty Sark" while titular character, Lupin, is brainstorming in a bar. The bottle can be seen focused on as the last in a line of various liquors while the view is panned across the bar shelf.


  1. ^ " 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]