Words: Ambica Gulati
She sailed in, she disembarked the amber liquid and she rests in Goa. The 1923-born Cutty Sark blended whisky is the latest entrant in India’s growing spirit market. Named after the famous British tea-clipper Cutty Sark, this is the first time Scotland-based blended whisky will be bottled outside its homeland. “Cutty Sark blend will be imported from Scotland and Kyndal will use its bottling facility at Gemini Distilleries in Goa to bottle, pack and market Cutty Sark,” says Siddharth Banerji, Managing Director, Kyndal Group. The entry has been facilitated by Edrington Kyndal India Pvt Ltd, a JV between Edrington and Kyndal Group. The whisky will be available in Delhi and Kolkata.
Celebrating the entry at The Lalit, Delhi, it was a short whisky tasting session, followed by swing of fashion and Cutty Sark cocktails. As designer Nitin Bal Chauhan launched the Cutty Sark-inspired collection all with bows, sails and the bewitching figurehead which graced the original Cutty Sark mast, actress Kalki Koechlin played the showstopper.
Chauhan also likes Cutty Sark-inspired cocktails, especially the Mandarin. So I got talking to the Master Blender Kirsteen Campbell while we sipped a Ginger Ale cocktail at her recommendation. Campbell has been with Cutty Sark for five years now and has around 14 years of experience in the spirits industry. Excerpts:
What is the USP of Cutty Sark?
It’s a blend of many single malts such as The Macallan, Highland Park and The Glenrothes and green whisky. People overlook the green whisky but it plays an important part in blending. Cutty Sark has smooth vanilla and coffee flavours. This makes it a good choice for cocktails.
How did your career as a blender begin?
I was a science student and initially began my career analyzing whiskies in a laboratory. Then I became a blender and finally landed at Cutty Sark.
Your key markets.
America is our prime markets, but we are a global brand going to over 50 coutnries. Portugal, Greece are more markets. We are among the top 10 blends of the world.
Which is your favourite cocktail?
The Cutty Sark Classic, but I also like Cutty Sark Soda and with apple juice, anything simple works. It doesn’t need to be complicated.
About Cutty Sark
Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky was launched in 1923 and was acquired by Edrington in 2010. Cutty Sark bottle proclaims that the whisky is a “salute to the notorious Captain William S. McCoy, who smuggled Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky into America during the Prohibition era of the 1920’s. His impeccable reputation for only dealing in the finest, genuine and unadulterated liquor–gave rise to Cutty Sark being referred to as ‘THE REAL McCOY’.”