Burns is constantly linked to whisky; he once worked as an exciseman, was born in Ayr not far from the current Girvan Distillery (owned by William Grant and Son and famous for being the home of Grants Blended whisky, Ailsa Bay single malt and Hendricks Gin), and he wrote many poems about the nation’s favourite drink.
In one of his more well-known poems Tam O’Shanter, which Scottish blend Cutty Sark celebrated a few years ago by releasing a commemorative 25 Years Old edition, he writes:
‘Wi' tippeny [tuppenny ale], we fear nae evil;
Wi' usquabae [whisky], we’ll face the devil!’
Possibly his most quoted lines about whisky come from his poem The Author’s Earnest Cry and Prayer, written in around 1786 and addressed to ‘The Right Honourable and Honourable Scotch Representatives in the House of Commons'.
The representatives in question had just voted through the Scotch Distillery Act of 1786, which included an extra duty aimed at Scottish distillers exporting spirit to England – seems import taxes and tariffs never change. The line goes:
‘Freedom and whisky gang thegither,
Tak aff your dram!’
Certainly something to toast aloud as you raise a glass to the Immortal Bard himself.
Our choices from the Lowland region of Scotland
12 Years Old
12 Years Old
Sweet Smoke 2.1
That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Rosebank 28 Years Old
That Boutique-y Whisky
Littlemill 27 Years Old
Adela 15 Years Old
Dream to Dram
One spare would be Johnnie Walker Black. Why this? Burns needed money to fund a move to Jamaica, to start a new life away from the drudgery of farming. To raise money he published a collection of poems by subscription, published in Kilmarnock – the spiritual home of Johnnie Walker. The edition has become Burns' answer to Shakespeare’s First Folio. Just another reason to raise a dram and read from the collection.