Burns Night in Scotland – 25th of January
Once again it is that time of year where many of us will be suffering from the lowest of depressions also known as the January blues. Christmas debt, broken New Year resolutions, and an otherwise total lack of motivation to do anything aside from stay in and watch television until the next festive season has left many of us down in the dumps. However do not fear for that most jovial of Scottish folk holidays lies just round the corner, we are of course talking about Burns Night.
Burns Night is one of our favorite holidays; it is a flagship event for Scottish culture and one of the nights of the year where it is truly cool to be a Jock, prompting foreign nationals everywhere to franticly begin researching their ancestry in the hope of finding a rogue Scot. The supper itself can range from an informal gathering of friends to huge formal dinners which include the recital of Burns’ poetry – namely ‘Tae a Haggis’ – bagpipes and of course the serving of the beast itself accompanied by neeps and tatties as per tradition. Even if you’re not a Scottish patriot Burns suppers provide the excuse for a multitude of sins including gluttony, chauvinist and feminist humor, and drink. Although it is usually lashings of wine and ale that are served with the main meal itself, the best is well and truly saved till last as the whiskies are then served.
The ‘wee man’ himself was particularly fond of the dram, so much so that he even wrote a poem dedicated to it, ‘Scotch Drink’ pays homage to the water of life that we have all come to grow so fond of and is precisely why whisky flows so freely on this particular evening. When it comes to what whiskies to have with the supper the choices are endless. Certainly the selections open to us now are far greater than back in Burns’ day when the excise men forced brewers to distill their spirit more illicitly. It seems quite ironic then when we consider the man himself who had such a close relationship with the drink was at one point a customs and excise officer.
When it comes to making the choice regarding what whisky to have we would personally recommend you opt for a single malt, the older the better. If you’re conscious about breaking the bank then a 12 year old may be the best choice, most reputable distillers offer fine whiskies of this age and usually retail for around thirty to forty pounds a bottle. In particular the Bowmore 12 year old offers a sweet yet mildly peaty character with a nice smooth finish, perfect for those who are less experienced when it comes to whisky tasting and still greatly appreciated by connoisseurs.
Although at the opposite end of the spectrum, if money is no object then you may decide to opt for an older and more expensive dram. If you like your whisky to taste a bit richer and deeper perhaps a 15 or 19 year old Glendronach would be more suited to you. Or if you wanted to go all out and re-mortgage your home, you could always chase a bottle of Macallan ‘Constantine’ provided you have £400,000 to spare. Either way just be sure you’ve got a nip of something in hand to toast before you begin dancing to Auld Lang Syng.