Looking to toast Scotland's national bard? Here are 8 great whiskies we recommend to make the most of Burns Night.

“Inspiring bold John Barleycorn! What dangers thou canst make us scorn! Wi’ tipenny, we fear nae evil; Wi’ usquebae, we’ll face the devil!”

It’s no secret that the bard was fond of Scotland’s national drink so to celebrate the day founded in honour of him, here are our recommendations for whiskies that we think our favourite bard would most definitely approve of:

Auchentoshan Three Wood

(Price: £40 approx)

This is a triple distilled malt from a great little distillery near Glasgow and the triple distillation means it will be much lighter and perfect for beginners, or those who like their whisky refreshing.

Burns Night whiskies

Picture: Whisky Exchange

It is also triple matured, with its maturation time being split between bourbon casks and no less than two types of sherry cask. This gives it an extra richness of flavour, with a toffee and Christmas cake nose, it is perhaps best enjoyed as a pre-dinner drink before the supper.

The Girvan Patent Still No. 4 Apps

(Price: £45.50 approx.)

The Bard was born in Ayrshire and spent a lot of his time in Dumfries and Galloway so perhaps its only fitting that Girvan be our next offering?

Burns Night whiskies

Picture: Whisky Exchange

One of the closest distilleries to his birthplace, Girvan distillery produces some very intriguing single grain whisky, named after the distillery term for ‘Apparatus’, No. 4 Apps is matured in bourbon casks and is the perfect stepping stone between American Bourbons and Scottish malts, as it is deliciously sweet and light. Be careful though, it’s very moreish.

Balvenie 14-year-old Caribbean cask

(Price: £52 approx)

It is a little known fact that Rabbie Burns almost left Scotland for the Caribbean to be a sugar plantation clerk before his poems made him famous and there is little doubt he’d see the humour in this choice.

Burns Night whiskies

Picture: Whisky Exchange

A perfect blend of Scotland and the Caribbean, this malt whisky is finished off in a rum cask to give it an interesting hit of flavour. The 14-year-old Balvenie Caribbean cask is an interesting little dram that will definitely grab your attention.

Well balanced and with a nice hint of Vanilla and citrus fruit, this whisky is an excellent accompaniment with dessert after your Burns supper.

Kilchoman – Sanaig

(Price: £52 approx.)

We should make note that although he was an exciseman, Rabbie often spoke out against the taxation of our beloved drink, so illicit distilling would have probably appealed to his roguish nature.

Although illicit stills are hard to find these days, the small Islay farm distillery of Kilchoman comes close to the feel and nature of those small hidden stills.

Burns Night whiskies

Picture: Whisky Exchange

Their Sanaig bottling is a particularly flavoursome, punchy little malt; like liquid charcoal in a glass, the extra sherry cask maturation adds a subtle balance of fruit to complement the smoke. Perfect for those who prefer their malts peaty.

Balblair 2005

(Price: £43)

Should you be looking for a malt that will please everybody, then Balblair’s most recent vintage  is perfect for taking along to a Burns supper.

Burns Night whiskies

Picture: Whisky Exchange

Sweet and filled with toffee notes, the Balblair straddles that line of appeal that makes it accessible to most – if not all – whisky drinkers, so even the most hard to please of your friends should be satisfied.

The Peated Malts of Distinction gift pack

(Price: £28 approx.)

For those who like a little variety – and peat of course – this wonderful little set features 50ml bottles of The Ardmore Legacy, Connemara Original, Bowmore Small Batch and Laphroaig Select.

Burns Night whiskies

Picture: Whisky Exchange

Coming in a great price, the box set offers four very different peated whiskies, ranging from the light and almost sweet Irish malt Connemara through to the big and punchy Laphroaig.

Perfect for sharing with a friend – or enjoying on your own – these four whiskies are ideal for enjoying alongside a Burns supper.

Cutty Sark – Tam O’Shanter 25 year-old Blended Whisky

(Price: £315 approx.)

For those who like to stay in the pub perhaps a little longer than they should, a whisky named after the epic Tam O’Shanter might be an interesting choice. Cutty Sark’s 25 year-old blend is named after the Bard’s most famous poem, though unlike the poem this whisky will hopefully be the only spirit involved.

Burns Night whiskies

Slightly more pricey, so this one might be best kept for a dinner shared with friends.

All toffee and raisin notes and with a great depth in character, if this isn’t an excuse to miss the last train home we don’t know what is.

Arran – Robert Burns Single Malt

(Price: £32 approx.)

Finally to a malt endorsed by the World Burns Federation, what better way to toast your Burns supper than with a malt produced especially for the occasion.

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Picture: Whisky Exchange

 

Arran distillery’s Burns malt is a zesty and malt-filled with notes of apples and pears, perfect for complementing your haggis, neeps and tatties.

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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