9 blended and grain whiskies to try this Burns night

Looking to toast Scotland's national bard this month? Here are nine great blended and grain whiskies we recommend to make the most of Burns night.

Published 10th Jan 2022
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

From peated drams to new releases, these blended and grain whiskies will go down well (no matter what your taste) this Burns night.

MacNair’s Lum Reek Peated 21 Year Old

This award-winning blended malt is made with Islay and Speyside peated malts, combined with older GlenAllachie to create a rich dram.

MacNair's Lum Reek 21 year old was voted Worlds Best Blended Malt 2020, and is aged in Oloroso, virgin oak and red wine casks.

Blended by whisky legend and master blender at The GlenAllachie, Billy Walker, MacNair's Lum Reek 21 year old has an RRP of £125.

Buy here.

Wee Smoky

wee smoky

Launched as part of a limited released in November 2020, Wee Smoky is a single grain whisky that is being aimed at non-whisky drinkers.

Just 400 distinctive electric blue and pink bottles from the first cask were available direct to consumers via the company’s website, with the product being going mainstream in mid-2021.

Founder Rory Gammell began to develop the concept for a whisky that is inclusive and welcoming to younger people and non-experts while living in San Francisco.

Port Charlotte unveils first 18 Year Old single malt Scotch whisky

Grain whisky is made from grains other than malted barley, which is what is used in single malt whisky.

Find out more here.

The Sassenach

blended whiskies

Outlander star Sam Heughan announced way back in 2019 that he would be launching a whisky, with fans in the UK finally able to get their hands on a bottle in December 2020.

Made by Loch Lomond Whiskies, the blend is a mix of malts and features single grain, which Sam told us more about when he was a guest on our podcast, Scran.

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The resulting whisky is described as being: “Inspired by the Highland landscape, the Sassenach is a uniquely blended Scotch whisky with a distinct character and smooth flavour, suitable for any occasion.

“Ancient peaks, hidden glens, and rising morning mist, freshwater and firm oak run deep in its veins.

“Matured in casks that previously held fine Madeira wine, the exceptional blend has an underlying rich character that rises to the forefront.”

The Sassenach is priced at £79 and available here.

Monkey Shoulder

blended whiskies

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You will no doubt have seen Monkey Shoulder in a range of places, it’s a really diverse (and often overlooked) blended Scotch whisky.

Made from a mix of three different Speyside Single Malts – Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie – Monkey Shoulder is popularly used in cocktails but is also great enjoyed neat.

Or, for a simple Burns night tipple, just add ginger ale or soda for a delicious highball.

Monkey Should is £27.50 and you can buy a bottle here.

Douglas Laing’s Rock Island

As the name may suggest, this is a blended whisky for those that prefer savoury flavours.

Rock Island is salty and briny on the nose and citrus and sweet peat tasting; a true maritime malt it’s a great example of what coastal whiskies (and in particular those from the islands) can taste like.

Priced at £40, it's available to order online here.

Haig Club

Picture: The Whisky Exchange

If the recognisable Haig Club bottle doesn't catch your eye then the marketing campaign with David Beckham may.

Putting single grain whisky on the map, Haig Club is ideal for those that love bourbon and want to try something Scottish.

Priced at £41, buy a bottle here.

Johnnie Walker 

One of Scotland's most famous blended whiskies, Johnnie Walker celebrated 200 years in 2020 and is set to be the star in a new visitor attraction in Edinburgh.

The range includes Johnnie Walker Black, Gold, Red and Blue label, and our favourite is Johnnie Walker Black label.

A sweet and moreish dram ideal for beginners, it also holds its own in cocktails and highballs.

Priced at £26, you can buy a bottle here.

Glasgow Distillery Malt Riot

Last year, the Glasgow Distillery Company introduced Malt Riot – a blended malt Scotch whisky – to its range.

The new release is a selected blend of handpicked single malts from across Scotland, with the distillery’s Glasgow 1770 Single Malt at the heart of the spirit.

The whisky is inspired by the malt tax protests that took place in 1725. These started in Glasgow, then spread across the nation, where protesters came together to demand the tax on malted barley be overturned.

Malt Riot Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is available from independent retailers at an RRP of £25. Buy here.

Queen Margot Blended Scotch Whisky

Lidl's Queen Margot blend is an ideal base for a range of whisky cocktails.

Made with malt and grain whiskies, it is balanced and smooth with hints of fruit.

Plus at £14.99, it won't break the bank.

Scran season 2: Talking whisky with Outlander star Sam Heughan

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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