SMWS launches whisky in honour of Robert Burns

SMWS new Robert Burns bottling

SMWS new Robert Burns bottling

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has released a pecial bottling in honour of Robert Burns to mark the annual celebration of the life and work of one of Scotland’s most famous sons.

The Burns Night bottle, ‘John Barleycorn was a hero bold’ is named after one of Burns’ most famed works, John Barleycorn: A Ballad – his version of an old English folk song.

The 11-year-old single malt, which was matured in a first fill ex-bourbon barrel, has hints of heather honey and tongue-tingling spices, finishing with heady notes of American oak shavings.

The ballad of John Barleycorn celebrates the process of growing and harvesting barley – one of the key ingredients of whisky. – with Burns writing: ‘Then let us toast John Barleycorn, each man a glass in hand; and may his great posterity ne’er fail in old Scotland’

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a membership club and ‘John Barleycorn was a hero bold’ is only available to Society members. Membership of the Society costs £122 - to join the Society, visit www.smws.co.uk.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society will be hosting a range of Burns Night events across the UK for members and non-members – for more information, visit www.smws.co.uk.

Tasting Notes

‘John Barleycorn was a hero bold’

The nose weaved an intriguing tale (chiefly in the Scottish dialect). Oak shavings, linseed oil and new pine furniture in the National Library of Scotland. Then, we dream’d we lay where flowers were springing (heady scents of marigolds and lavender). A citric sharpness appeared with barley sugars, tea caddies and mild tobacco. Water softened – wood and laundry conjured up Steamie washboards; also butterscotch, Barbour Jackets and snuff. The unreduced palate was sweet, tart and tasty – ‘soor plooms’, lemon peel, apple scones and pear skins with traces of heather honey and tongue-tingling spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove). With water, lemon meringue pie and stewed apples jostled chummily with oak, cedar, chilli and menthol. The wee witchie from Tam O’Shanter lives here.

Cask No. 76.113

Colour: Sultry summer sun

Cask: First fill ex-bourbon barrel

Age: 11 years

Date Distilled: 25 April 2002

Alcohol: 58.5%

Region: Speyside Spey

Outturn: 1 of only 233 bottles

Drinking Tip: To accompany fine literature

Bottle Price: £49.50




Back to the top of the page




In partnership with

Complete coverage of the festivals. Guides. Reviews. Listings. Offers

Let's Go!

No Thanks