Cutty Sark Prohibition Blended Scotch Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


“Not that long after Prohibition began, Captain Bill McCoy started smuggling in Rum Row (the name given to Atlantic waters just outside the US maritime border). Captain McCoy’s reputation for dealing in only the finest liquor resulted in Cutty Sark being referred to as ‘The Real McCoy.’  He was caught in late 1923, and by that time Cutty Sark had captured the hearts (and taste buds) of whisky fans across the country.”Cutty Sark


Cutty Sark Prohibition is a blended whisky introduced in 2013 to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. Before you thumb your nose at that and stop reading, stop and digest what I’m about to say: There are great blended Scotches out there, and if you miss them, you’re missing out.


Blended Scotch, simply put, is a blend of malt and grain whiskies. There are some crappy blended whiskies on the market, which is why the category has such an unpleasant reputation. However, blending is an art form. The notion is to determine what you want the result to be, and the challenge is how to get the whisky there. Great blenders make that happen by using quality whiskies. Blenders who either don’t know what they’re doing or are stuck with mediocre (or worse) barrels wind up with the yucky stuff.


Prohibition starts with an undisclosed blend aged in former Bourbon barrels seasoned with sherry for an indeterminate amount of time. This whisky carries no age statement, but because we’re familiar with Scottish law, we know that means at least three years. It is non-chill filtered but does contain E150a caramel coloring. What’s different than many blends is that Prohibition is bottled at 50% ABV (100°), which is something that you usually pay a whole lot more than $26.99. But that’s all Prohibition costs.


Until 2018, the brand was owned by Edrington Distilleries, when it was sold to Glen Turner Company, Ltd. (La Martiniquase). The bottle I’m reviewing was from the prior owner, and as such, I cannot tell you if something has changed post-ownership.


I picked up a 50ml taster from a random liquor store for my review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and discover if this budget Scotch is worth drinking.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Prohibition presented as brass with a medium rim. When it finally released, the legs were thick and crawled back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: An intriguing bouquet of honey, apricot, raisin, toasted oak, and floral notes permeated my olfactory sense. What was different was damp cardboard. Not the stuff that is decaying, just wet. Honey rolled across my tongue as I pulled the air into my mouth.


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be both creamy and weighty. Salted caramel, orange zest, and raisin greeted the front of my palate. A combination of black tea and English toffee formed the middle, while black pepper, charred oak, and cocoa powder rounded things out.


Finish:  The medium-length finish eased out but quickly ramped up to a warm, dry blend of black tea, raisin, old oak, and freshly-cracked black pepper.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The dry sherry seasoning carried much influence during the entire sipping experience. I was taken aback by how spicy the punch was at the finish. Cutty Sark Prohibition is quite the affordable pour, and while it wouldn’t be an everyday sipper for me, I enjoyed it. For an under-$30.00 Scotch, this takes a Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.