Burns Night Drams


As another Burns Night approaches and the weather continues in favourably dram-enthusing mode my thoughts turn to Scotland’s greatest poet and his associations with whisky through his verse.

One particular piece resonates with me, “The De’il’s Awa Wi’ The Exciseman”. Robert Burns himself spent some years as an exciseman but despite this he turned his pen against the taxation of Scotland’s liquid gold.

“We’ll mak our maut, and brew our drink,
We’ll dance, and sing, and rejoice, man;
And mony thanks to the muckle black De’il
That danced awa wi’ the Exciseman”..

In all my years in the whisky trade Her Majesty’s government has lowered the duty on spirits just once. All other moves have been upward. On the day prior to this momentous budget I happened upon the Chancellor of the day who was attempting to make himself invisible in eager anticipation of the arrival of his chauffeur. My friend and I cheekily asked if we needed to adjust the prices of the whiskies on our shelves. Only a wry smile resulted. Thanks anyway Mr Clarke. Perhaps the De’il was driving his limo that day.