IT’S no doubt that drink and whisky in particular, have been the muse to many a man, firing hearts and imaginations.
Even Robert Burns himself was bewitched by our national drink.
‘O thou, my muse! Guid auld scotch drink.’, he famously declared.
So on Friday why not toast the man himself with a wee whisky?
The Bard was born in Ayrshire and spent a lot of his time in Dumfries and Galloway so perhaps its only fitting that Bladnoch be our first offering? The closest distillery to his homeland and also one of the smallest, the 10 year-old is a nice little sherried number perfect for sharing the Bard’s tales after the meal.
Perhaps given that Rabbie was an exciseman we should pick a malt from the first distillery to legally produce whisky Glenlivet, and what better one to choose than the 15 year old French oak? Symbolising the auld alliance between France and Scotland this little malt is fruit and nut in a glass, perfect for a pre-Burns supper chat with friends.
We should also make note however that although he was an exciseman, Rabbie often spoke out against the taxation of our beloved drink, so illicit distilling would have probably appealed to his roguish nature. Although illicit stills are hard to find these days, the small Islay farm distillery of Kilchoman comes close to the feel and nature of those small hidden stills. The Machir Bay is a lively little malt, like liquid gold and charcoal in a glass, perfect for those who prefer their malts peaty.
For those who like to stay in the pub longer than they should, a whisky named after the epic Tam O’Shanter might be an interesting choice. Cutty Sark have just released a 25 year-old blend named after the Bard’s most famous poem, though unlike the poem this whisky will hopefully be the only spirit involved. Toffee and Raisin, if this isn’t an excuse to miss the last train I don’t know what is.
Finally to a malt endorsed by the World Burns Federation, what better way to toast your Burns supper than with a malt produced especially for the occasion. Arran distillery’s Burns malt is a zesty and malt-filled with notes of apples and pears, perfect for complementing your haggis, neeps and tatties.
• For those of you of a more adventurous spirit perhaps an Appleton estate rum might be more interesting, it was a little known fact that the Bard almost left the country to become a sugar plantation owner.
Whichever malt you choose, be sure to have a great one.
• Sean Murphy is a barman at Glasgow’s famous whisky bar the Pot Still