What To Drink This Burns Night

Nickolls & PerksIslay, Speyside, WhiskyLeave a Comment

January 25th 1759: the birth of Scotland’s national poet, Robert “Rabbie” Burns. This 18th-century proto-Romantic poet has become so synonymous with Scottish identity that his birthday is now more celebrated than the day of the country’s patron saint, St. Andrew.

His poems are inextricably linked to some of our most celebrated occasions – you were probably just a few weeks ago drunkenly and gleefully belting out the few words you know to Auld Lang Syne, embracing your friends as you ushered in the new year. However, no such occasion is as associated with the bard as Burns Night itself: a traditional evening of whisky, haggis, pipes and poems.

Poems and pipes aren’t necessary for a great Burns, a few good friends and delicious whiskies are enough to create a memorable evening. At Nickolls & Perks, we specialise in fine whiskies and wines, and we’ve put together a handy guide for some great whiskies to imbibe as you sip away the January blues with loved ones.


Glen Ord 2012 Bourbon Barrel – Strictly Limited (Càrn Mòr)

Burns was no stranger to a dram, but only one distillery was ever mentioned in his poetry, the forever lost Ferintosh:

“Thee, Ferintosh! Oh, sadly lost!

Scotland lament frae coast to coast!”

Burns was obviously a fan of whisky from the area, and whilst Ferintosh now lies as a derelict relic, head just six miles down the road and you’ll find a distillery that stood the test of time, Glen Ord.

This small batch expression of Glen Ord is a vatting of just a few ex-bourbon barrels, bottled by the fantastic independent bottler Càrn Mòr as part of their Strictly Limited range. Ex-bourbon barrels are a particularly light style of cask, often chosen to highlight the characteristics of a distillery’s spirit.

Tasting Notes:

The biscuit notes and fruity style of Glen Ord plays wonderfully with the casks here, producing candy sweetness as well vanilla custard and a healthy serving of citrus. A fresh and playful dram and a great start to any Burns evening.

Age: 8 years

Price (Inc-VAT): £44.95

Region: Highlands

ABV: 47.5%

Link to purchase:  Glen Ord 8 Year Old 2012 – Strictly Limited (Càrn Mòr) – Nickolls & Perks (nickollsandperks.co.uk)


The Glenrothes 18 Year Old

This unsung hero of Speyside has long been a favourite of whisky enthusiasts but does not quite enjoy the same levels of attention as some of its neighbours. Despite this, the distillery produces some fantastic whiskies, especially when it comes to sherry-matured expressions; a style of cask that became particularly famous through the 1800s and is now associated with a traditional style of Scotch.

The Glenrothes 18 Year Old is entirely matured in sherry casks, with a high proportion of those casks first-fill. These casks provide an intense flavour that often proves more difficult to work with than ex-bourbon casks, making the elegant balance of flavours here ever more impressive.

Tasting Notes:

Amongst the many aromas in this whisky, you may find dark chocolate and amaretto-soaked sponge cake notes from the rich sherry, alongside floral and perfume characters that are indicative of the spirit character. The palate is every bit as indulgent, with light tobacco notes, hazelnuts and ginger cake. Rich but inviting, and bearing an impressive age.

Age: 18 years

Price (Inc-VAT): £99.95

Region: Speyside

ABV: 43%

Link to purchase: The Glenrothes 18 Year Old – Nickolls & Perks (nickollsandperks.co.uk)


Tomatin 12 Year Old 2008 Monbazillac Cask Finish – French Collection

Classic is great, but new is exciting. This limited edition of Tomatin whisky was one of three entries in their 2021 French Collection, showcasing their single malt whisky matured in traditional Scotch whisky oak casks before a long three-year finishing period in different styles of French wine & spirit casks.

This particular entry was finished in barriques that previously held Monbazillac wine, a sweet white wine produced in the South-Western French village of Monbazillac. If that doesn’t resonate with you, there are plenty more entries in the series, including Rivesaltes, Sauternes and Cognac finishes.

Tasting Notes:

Aromas of honeycomb and tropical fruit are complemented by notes of cinnamon and citrus zest. Gentle spice and syrup welcome creamy cereal and chocolate, with light notes of hazelnut.

Age: 12 years

Price (Inc-VAT): £64.95

Region: Highland

ABV: 46%

Link to purchase: Tomatin 12 Year Old 2008 Monbazillac Cask Finish – French Collection – Nickolls & Perks (nickollsandperks.co.uk)


Kilchoman Casado 2022 Release

During Burns’s day, you’d find yourself inundated with smoky whisky; the practice of drying barley with peat would have been common at this time, so we’d be amiss to not include a peated expression in our list.

The Kilchoman distillery was the first new distillery to be built on Islay for 124 years when it was founded in 2005. The distillery also owns much of the nearby farmland, growing barley that is used to produce some of their whisky; a true grain-to-glass distillery. The Casado is a heavily peated expression, matured in a combination of 38 fresh bourbon barrels that were vatted into two 6,000-litre Portuguese red wine vats for two years.

Tasting Notes:

Pungent campfire smoke develops into notes of marzipan and overripe plums. More stone fruits emerge after some time alongside heavy notes of jam.

Age: 12 years

Price (Inc-VAT): £76.95

Region: Islay

ABV: 46%

Link to purchase: Kilchoman Casado 2022 Release – Nickolls & Perks (nickollsandperks.co.uk)


Drink What You Enjoy


Above all, Burns Night is about merriness, a hearty meal, and appreciating your company as you relish life’s simple pleasures. The whiskies listed above are fantastic examples of what Scotland has to offer, but if there are flavours that you enjoy that are not showcased in our picks, you can find boundless more options available on our website or in-store. Our dedicated team are here to help make your Burns Night an evening to remember.

Nickolls & Perks | Fine Wine & Spirits (nickollsandperks.co.uk)

Steven – Whisky Specialist

Nickolls & PerksWhat To Drink This Burns Night

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