Cutty Sark Scots Whisky.
In 1923 the company created Cutty Sark Scots’ Whisky; this was the first naturally coloured Scotch.
Seated round a table at lunch discussing whisky were the partners together with James McBey, the well-known Scottish artist.
Berrys was already selling their own brands of Scotch Whisky to customers at home. Just a little had been sold before the war to private customers in the U.S.A.
There were signs that the disastrous experiment of Prohibition would not last forever. They now sought a new and different blend for the export trade.
Like his cousin Walter, Francis Berry was an authority on fine Cognac. He supported the suggestion that they should choose a blend made up from only the very finest and most delicate whiskies.
It would be bottled at its natural pale colour to avoid the danger of the caramel colouring masking or destroying the gentle and crisp flavour which they enjoyed so much. Far away from the fashionable idea of dark, heavy and oily Scotch whisky.
The Cutty Sark Brand.
All the new Scotch whisky blend lacked was a name and a symbol. At the time, the famous clipper ship “Cutty Sark” was much in the news as she had just returned to England after many years trading under the Portuguese flag.
McBey, who was a keen sailor, suggested that this would be an admirable name for the new whisky.
Appropriate too, for nothing could seem more Scottish, the name being taken from Robert Burns’ “Tam O’Shanter” (Cutty Sark means “short shift” or “the abbreviated chemise of a winsome wench”).
McBey also volunteered to design the label which remains today almost exactly as he originally drew it, even to the hand-drawn lettering and the use of the correct descriptive word “Scots” rather than the Sassenach’s “Scotch”.
Only the colour of the label is different. McBey had suggested a creamy shade to imply age. The printers, by accident, used a bright yellow so striking in its effect that the partners decided to keep it.