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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Cutty Sark Scots Whisky (Berry Brothers & Rudd)

Cutty Sark Principle Blends

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark aged 12 years

Cutty Sark aged 18 years

Cutty Sark aged 25 years

Cutty Sark Discovery

Cutty Sark Emerald

 

Berry Brothers & Rudd History

The Widow Bourne at 3 St James’s Street, London, established the business in 1698.

 

No. 3 remained in the hands of the Widow Bourne until her daughter, Elizabeth, was successfully wooed by William Pickering, and in 1731 Sir Thomas Hanmer, Speaker of the House of Commons, leased Pickering No. 3 to be rebuilt along with the houses in the court behind, now known as Pickering Place.

 

In 1734, William Pickering died and his widow Elizabeth took over the running of the business until 1737, when she handed over both the grocery and the "arms painting and heraldic furnishing" side to her sons William Junior Pickering and John Pickering.

 

Berrys first supplied wine to the British Royal Family during King George III's reign (1760) and has continued to do so until the present day.

 

By 1765, at the 'Sign of the Coffee Mill', Berrys not only supplied the fashionable 'Coffee Houses' (later to become Clubs such as Boodles and Whites) but also began weighing customers on giant coffee scales.

 

John Pickering died in 1754. With no suitable heir, his brother William took as his partner John Clarke who was distantly related, through his mother, born Mary Crabb. Clarke died in 1788, and while he had no son, his daughter, Mary, had married John Berry, a wine merchant in Exeter, and their son, George Berry, although only one year of age, had already been designated by his grandfather as heir to The Coffee Mill.

 

Before he died John Clarke found as a suitable "caretaker" to manage affairs, the Brownes of Westerham, a rich and prospering family of lawyers and yeomen into which John Berry's sister had married, and they agreed to look after the business until George was old enough to take over.

 

George Berry, John Clarke's grandson, was only sixteen when, in 1803, he made the two-day journey from Exeter. For seven years he must have played the part of apprentice, for it was not until 1810 that his name was stretched across the double-fronted facia of No. 3 St James's Street.

 

In 1838 the Chartist riots raged through provincial England and spread panic in London. Accompanied by his friend Prince Louis Napoleon, George Berry was sworn in as a special constable. This Prince Louis Napoleon, who as Napoleon III founded the Deuxième Empire in 1851, had a close association with No. 3, as during his two-year stay in London he used the cellars for sundry secret meetings with Sherer the (reputed) editor of the "Standard".

 

In 1854, George Berry died, and was succeeded by two of his sons, George and Henry. The style of "Berry Brothers" thus came into being and remained almost unchanged for almost ninety years.

 

George Berry II had seven children, of whom Henry Berry was chosen to represent the older branch of the family while the younger of the original two brothers was succeeded by his son, one of twelve children, Henry Percival Berry. These two cousins were succeeded in due time by Francis Lawrence Berry of the senior branch, and Charles Walter Berry of the junior.

 

1903 A Royal Warrant was granted as Wine Merchants to King Edward VII.

 

Until 1914 Hugh Rudd had worked in the Wine Trade, first in London, then on the Continent, and from 1903 with his father in R.G. Rudd & Son, Wine Merchants of Norwich. But after the war, Norwich ceased to hold its former important place in wine. By agreement with his father Major Rudd then came to London to join Berry Brothers and Company as the junior partner.

 

Cutty Sark Scots’ Whisky

In 1923 the company created Cutty Sark Scots' Whisky; this was the first naturally coloured Scotch. More recently a range of fine vintage Single Malts has been developed under the Berrys' Own Selection label.

 

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, and 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 and they now sought a new and different blend for the export trade.

 

Like his cousin Walter, Francis Berry was an authority on fine Cognac and 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 - but which was far away from the fashionable idea of dark, heavy and oily Scotch whisky.

 

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.

 

Between 1961 and 1971 Cutty Sark totally dominated the U.S. market, with sales rising to more than 2.5 million cases annually. If the 1960s was the decade of USA, the '70s was the decade of Japan. Cutty Sark raced ahead and by 1979 was selling almost half a million cases a year, and challenging the leader in the complicated Japanese market. Meanwhile, the rest of the world was not being neglected; by 1970 Cutty Sark was sold in over a hundred different countries including such unlikely places as New Caledonia, Nepal, Tahiti and Taiwan.

Cutty Sark Blends Under New Ownership.Edrington acquires Cutty Sark on April 1st 2010 from Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Cutty Sark Yellow Label

Cutty Sark Storm

Cutty Sark Prohibition

Cutty Sark Tam o’ Shanter 25 year old

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