Our top-five whiskies for Burns Night
Author: Rob Whitehead
If you’re planning on raising a dram to Scotland’s most famous poet this 25th January, then look no further than our top-five whiskies for Burns Night, recommended by Spirits Buyer Rob Whitehead.
The Glenturret, 12-Year-Old, 2021 Release, Highland, Single Malt Scotch Whisky
It is a joy to see Glenturret going from strength to strength under its new owners. Investment in all aspects of production and great attention to detail are bringing this small, little-known distillery to the fore. This is a beautifully textured Highland dram, with a toothsome richness and spice to back up the fruitiness of the spirit. This sets a very high benchmark, showing just how fine a 12-year-old single malt can be. And, in its rather splendid new packaging, it looks the part too. £65 bbr.com
2007 Berry Bros. & Rudd Speyside, Cask No. 9956, Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Once in a while, we come across a cask of Whisky, but we can’t share the name of the distillery. that made it. We try to avoid this, but some casks are just too good to pass by. This rich Speysider gives a near textbook example of ex-sherry butt whisky; dried fruits, wood spice and a little leather emerge on the nose. The palate is beautifully soft and mellow with figs, dates and raisins, very clean, rich vibrant honeyed notes building to an almost sherbet-like mouthfeel, these powerful sherry wood flavours integrate perfectly with the high alcohol at cask strength. It is packed with marmalade and baking spice notes and provides extremely moreish pleasure with a few drops of water as it opens up. I’d reach for it as the perfect digestif after a heartening haggis dinner. £85 bbr.com
Longrow, Peated, Campbeltown, Single Malt Scotch Whisky
One of the least-known peaty malts in Scotland, this is one of my personal favourites. Ever-unassuming, Longrow satisfies and rewards with equal measure. Produced at Springbank, it is so-named to separate it from the usual modestly peated output of that first-class distillery. This is more earthy than saline, with bracken and mossy notes to balance the delicious sweetness of American oak. As glorious, and enervating, as a crystal-clear January morning looking out from atop the Mull of Kintyre. £44.95 bbr.com
The Glenrothes, 18-year-old, Speyside, Single Malt Scotch Whisky
This has to be one of my most comforting drams: it’s liquid fruitcake, with the cushioned mouthfeel of relaxing back into one’s favourite sofa. Here, dried berries and purple berries intermingle with the high-quality oak and citrus peel (which I find so quintessential at this distillery). This is long and complex. Whichever way the winter wind blows, this feels like home. £100 bbr.com
Highland Park, 21-Year-Old, Released 2020, Orkney, Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Orkney’s greatest distillery, seen here at an age where the exuberance of youth is beginning to give way to the measured brilliance of properly lengthy maturation. Nuanced peat whispers around the periphery of the nose; to taste, orchard fruits, once fleshy, are turning dried and concentrated. The finish is delicious with fulsome oak tannins building an enviable structure befitting this great distillery. A little bit of far-northern magic, this will pair magnificently with chocolate of all kinds. £205 bbr.com
You can browse our full range of whiskies and interesting drams here.