Harvey's Bristol Cream
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Harvey’s Bristol Cream
In the late 17th century, sweetened Oloroso was hugely popular in the UK. It was known as milk sherry or Bristol Milk, because most of the sherry trade to the UK was passing through the port of Bristol. Different types of wines arrived in Bristol and they were blended to create a sweet, smooth mixture.
Bristol Milk was a generic name produced by different companies. John Harvey, a wine merchant who started in 1796, had its own popular Bristol Milk. One day in the 1860s, John Harvey II and his brother Edward received an aristocratic lady in their cellars where she had some Harveys Bristol Milk. She was also asked to try a new, richer blend they had been working on. If that is Milk, then this must be Cream she said, so the new blend was named Bristol Cream – a brand trademarked since 1882.
Harveys Bristol Cream became hugely popular. While Bristol Milk was said to be a golden sherry, Bristol Cream was darker and included more and older Oloroso.
At the start of the 1950s, Bristol Cream was the best selling sherry in the world – which in many markets it still is until this very day. It has been sold on such a massive scale that later the entire category of sweet / blended sherries was called Cream sherry (and not the other way round as you may think).