O Whisky! soul o’ plays an’ pranks!
Accept a Bardie’s gratefu’ thanks!
(Burns, R. 1759-1796)

So, as January the 25th approaches we thought we would do an article for our Scottish gents and any among us who are getting ready to celebrate Burns night. With the haggis, neeps and tatties at the ready, the only thing to worry about now is the whisky. With Burns’ being a fond whisky enthusiast himself, we thought it would only be right to suggest 5 of our favourite whiskies that for you to enjoy whilst celebrating the life of the world-renowned bard.

For the beginner

Auchentoshan 12 Year Old

Auchentoshan 12 Year Old
Auchentoshan 12 Year Old. Price: £30.35. Source: Whisky Exchange

A smooth, triple distilled lowland malt with a Crème brulee smell with hints of toffee and Auchentoshan nuttiness and a sweet taste with hints of lime and tangerine make this an ideal pre-supper drink. The triple distillation process that Auchentoshan employs creates a light and refreshing malt that, whilst lacking some of the complexity of its contemporaries, is an enjoyable experience for a whisky beginner.

The smokey option

Lagavulin 16 Year Old

Lagavulin 16 Year Old Single Malt
Lagavulin 16 Year Old. Price: £48.95. Source: Whisky Exchange

Is there anything better on a cold January night than a dram of the smokey, peaty goodness of good scotch to warm the soul? Well yes, 2 drams. And there is no better smokey number than the Lagavulin 16 year old malt, hailing from the Islay region, a small island just off the coast of Scotland renowned for its smokey whiskies thanks to the peaty soil. The Lagavulin is a traditionally peaty and pungent scotch with a rich malt and sherry taste. Oaky tones run through with a powerful fruit finish with notes of dates and figs. This is a complex whisky and the intense flavours would make this a perfect post-meal tipple.

New(ish) kid on the block

Arran 14 Year Old

Arran 14 Year Old
Arran 14 Year Old: £41.35. Source: Whisky Exchange

The Arran distillery, built rather recently in 1995, is an independent distillery and the only distillery to operate on the island. The island is known for its incredibly pure water and warm climate which helps the distillery create its distinct ranges. The Arran 14 year old is well balanced, being matured in both sherry and bourbon casks, with a creamier texture to that of the younger 10 year old version. With oak and vanilla fragrances on the nose and spicy, fruity and biscuity tones on the palate, the Arran 14 year old is fresh, delicious and works well with the neeps.

A hint of the Caribbean

Balvenie Caribbean Cask Aged 14 Years

Balvenie Caribbean Cask
Balvenie Caribbean Cask. Price: £42.95. Source: Whisky Exchange

Yes this is not the first time this particular whisky has appeared on the Northampton Gent and the reason is quite simple; this is a marvellous whisky. But how does this relate to Burns I hear you ask? Well, before Burns was a renowned poet in Scotland, he had planned on making a move to Jamaica to work as a bookkeeper on a sugar plantation. Whilst this move never came to be, it seems that a little bit of the Caribbean has come to Scotland instead. Matured in traditional oak whisky casks for 14 years, the whisky is finished in American oak casks filled with their own original blend of West Indian rums to ensure the whisky adopted just the right flavours.

Notes of oak, vanilla and toffee bring a Caribbean flavour to this sweet whisky.

Pairing with haggis

Talisker 10 Year Old

Talisker 10 Year Old
Talisker 10 Year Old. Price: £32.25. Source: Whisky Exchange

Haggis is a dish that is by no means lacking in flavour, so it is important that the right whisky is chosen that compliments rather than overpowers the haggis. The whisky we would recommend is the Talisker 10 year old, another whisky that hails from the Islay region, but without the same smokey intenseness as the Lagavulin. The Talisker is a brilliant mix of the smokey, peaty character that defines the region with a distinct sweetness and peppery finish. The peat in the whisky adds another dimension of flavour to the dish, whilst the sweetness compensates for the rich gaminess of haggis and its peppery finish wonderfully complements the seasoning of the haggis.

 

We hope you all enjoy your Burns’ celebrations this January and if there are any whiskies you feel should be included, let us know below.