Burns' Night: Make your evening special with a fantastic dram.
Burns' Night is one of Scotlands most celebrated events. Fans the world over come together on 25th January and raise a glass to the works and life of our most famous poet: Robert 'Rabbie' Burns.
He was born on 25th January 1759, meaning he would have been 264 today! Alas, he died at the young age of 37, but managed to squeeze an impressive amount of adventure into his short life.
As well as his poetry such as To A Mouse, Auld Lange Syne and The Bonnie Lass of Ballochmyle, and writing over 100 song lyrics, most prominently for "The Melodies of Scotland" songbook, Burns was also employed as an Excise Officer in 1789 at just 30 years of age.
Sadly, his hard working childhood, happy-go-lucky lifestyle and fame caught up with him and on 21st July 1796, Rabbie passed away. He wrote poems up until the latter years of life, including "A That and A That", because of his wonderful way with words, Burns', was in 2009, celebrated as the "Greatest Ever Scot" in a vote by STV.
He was continuously linked with whisky, despite not being that fond of the drink itself. Instead the romantic notion of the industry led him to include the drink in many poems and, as such, he has become forever entwined with our National Drink.
No Burns' Supper would be complete without a glass of whisky raised in toast to the Haggis, with many a piper "whettin their thrapple" after piping in the meal to the top table. A Toast to the Lassies and The Lassies Reply also often come accompanied with the raising of a tot of whisky.
Here are some of our favourite drams to raise a glass to Burns' night this Wednesday, or any night this week which sees you digging in to your 'Haggis Neeps an Tatties'.
Annandale are one of only a handful of distilleries that have not just a release dedicated to Burns, but a full collection. The Man O Words collection celebrate his connection with whisky and poetry - our pick of the bunch is the Sherry Cask 821.
Only 5% of Annandale’s 2015 production is maturing in sherry wood. Sourced directly from José y Miguel Martín SA, Spain and specially selected by Dr Jim Swan, these are very rare authentic sherry butts that previously matured sherry (rather than sherry-conditioned virgin oak casks).
A well-integrated, sweet whisky with an initial blast of honey, toffee and vanilla cream. Great balance between sweet summer flowers and tropical melon and mango. The sherry spice comes at the end with a mix of almonds and walnuts, raisins and plums.
Named after the protagonist in one of his most famous poems, Timorous Beastie is a blend of Highland Malts, creating a wonderfully balanced and easy drinking whisky.
Perhaps not a classic Highland, it doesn't showcase a typical ruggedness which we come to expect from the region, instead focussing on more elegant notes which make this ideal for a wide audience during a Burns' night meal.
Timorous Beastie is overridingly sweet initially on the nose, then warm to floral, light barley and spicy honeyed tones. The palate opens in a spicy style with mellow sugary and raisin - fudge-y tones.
Lochlea Our Barley and The Fallow
Based in the heart of 'Burns' Country', this newest of Lowland Malts are focussed on the harvest of their first year in production, showcasing 5 'first harvest' releases.
The Fallow expression consists of a limited run fully matured in Oloroso Sherry Cask whisky, creating a malt whisky matured beyond its years. Smooth and spicy, there is plenty of character in this young whisky to keep the most avid of fans interested. Ideal for pairing with the main meal, those spicy haggis notes will entwine beautifully with the sherry notes.
Our Barley is Lochlea's ongoing core single malt expression, which sits alongside their seasonal limited editions.
John Campbell, Master Blender, has carefully honed this recipe, and with a combination of Bourbon, Sherry and STR Casks there is a whole new level of depth and complexity to the final whisky.
Golden syrup, pepper, rye bread, macadamia nuts & cream soda suggest a more
delicate dram, ideal for that accompanying whisky sauce, or alongside a sweet dessert such as a heather cheesecake, or biscuits and cheese.
Opening up whisky to new audiences is a perfect sideline for any host of a Burns night - and one of our favourite ways to do this is through whisky liqueurs. Two of our favourites are Highland Nectar and Bruadar.
Highland Nectar is made from a finely crafted recipe combining the character of the finest Highland Scotch whisky with an array of characterful herbs and spices to create a rich and sumptuous whisky liqueur.
This unique blend of un-peated Scotch whisky and the finest botanicals is the first liqueur from fine spirits creator, blender and bottler Elixir Distillers.
For the more experienced drinker, a dash of Highland Nectar combined with a peaty dram such as Elements of Islay Bourbon makes for a wonderful alternative rusty nail.
Bruadar is perhaps our biggest selling liqueur, loaded with honey and sloe berries for a fruitier, warming liqueur. Bruadar has been around for over 20 years and recently evolved again, creating the winning Honey Liqueur in 2021's World
The versatility of Bruadar makes it the perfect cocktail ingredient, bringing depth and complexity with its velvety rich layers of flavour. Try in a Sloeld Fashioned for a comforting, sweet dram, ideal for those Toast Glasses for everyone to enjoy.
These are just some of the fantastic whiskies available that will make your Burns' Night something special, for more suggestions check out our collection, including some great gin recommendations