Brand review - one year on
Published:  27 August, 2008


Cutty Sark Scotch whiskies

Critique by

Gemma Leech, brand manager



Around the same time last year that the tall ship Cutty Sark embarked on a phase of conservation and restoration, the blended Scotch whisky brand Cutty Sark was also being rejuvenated. Four of its aged premium blends were been relaunched as Cutty Sark's deluxe range. The 12, 15, 18 and 25 Year Old now all feature in the range as the premium variants to the classic Cutty Sark brand, first created in 1923 by Berry Bros & Rudd and now jointly owned by Berry Bros and the Edrington Group.


The purpose of the deluxe range was to coordinate the presentation of the aged variants. Shorter, bell-shaped bottles were used across the mix for a premium differentiation to the mainstream pack, yet the labelling retains the strong brand identity and heritage of the Cutty Sark original. Colour coding distinguishes each vintage. The presentation is simple in design, keeping a traditional but fresh look that is sympathetic to the brand's core offering and successfully houses the premium offering together.


This new range was introduced to appeal to the discerning whisky consumer. Rather than promote separate stand-alone offerings, Cutty Sark has rebranded its diverse vintage blends as a luxury collection. The vintage variants are brought together to provide choice and selection to a broader market where, from a unified platform, consumers are encouraged to cross-purchase and explore the range.


The relaunch of the range enabled Cutty Sark to review and adjust its pricing . The pricing was increased across the range to reflect the products' quality and exclusivity. The range starts at about e20 euros for the 12 Year Old and goes to e270 for the 25 Year Old. This is a quite broad stretch in terms of price for such a range. But the premium-end pricing appears to be justified given the high taste ratings all products have scored with the critics, particularly the flagship product in the deluxe range - the 25 Year Old - which was rated highest in a comparative tasting by Whisky Magazine.


For Scotch enthusiasts who like to appreciate the subtleties in taste between blends, the Cutty Sark deluxe range is a proposition that collectively should encourage consumers to trade up and explore. With this range, Cutty Sark International has made a positive stab at strengthening its brand in a crowded market. Although sales of the 12 Year Old remain flat, both the 15 and 18 Year Olds are up by 20 and 40 per cent, respectively. The rebranding has made a positive impact on the range of Cutty Sark aged blends, which have fortunately fared better than their namesake clipper that was hit by a blaze during restoration.

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