21st January 2021 by Rachel Wallhouse

What started as a small memorial dinner by the friends and family of Robert Burns to celebrate the great Scottish Poets life and work has now morphed into a nationwide celebration of all things Scottish. It’s a glorious way to break up the tedium of January and a fitting end if you have been tempted by ‘Dry January’. Continue reading to see our top whisky picks, plus some fabulous food and wine pairings from Matt!

To help you celebrate, we have put a handy list together of some of our favourite whiskies. For those that didn’t know we don’t just do wine, we also have a great range of spirits including 100+ whiskies.

1) Dalmore King Alexander III, 40% – buy online 

The Dalmore is a quintessential Highland Scotch whisky. The story of The Dalmore starts all the way back in 1263- it was in this year that Colin of Kintail, Chief of the Clan Mackenzie, saved King Alexander III from the fury of a charging stag. Matured in Cabernet Sauvignon, Madeira, Sherry, Marsala, Kentucky bourbon AND Port Casks! Each cask gives its own flavour notes, delivering a unique complex single malt Whisky revered by connoisseurs.

2) Jura 21 Year Old Tide, 46.7% – buy online

Jura is a small island off the West coast of Scotland. Rough, rugged and elemental, Jura is only 60 miles from the mainland, yet feels like an entire world away! Despite being very close to the Isle of Islay, and even taking part in Islay’s annual whisky festival, Jura malt has a very different flavour profile. Tide is a 21 year old single malt with a dual maturation. Firstly, the whisky rested in American white oak bourbon barrels before it was transferred to hand-selected virgin American white oak casks, which imparted a slightly more spicy character. Bottled in a frosted glass bottle, along with a pretty funky presentation box.

3) Arran 18 Year Old, 46.6% 
£74.99- only 3 bottles available

Treat yourself this Burns night to this stunning dram from the Arran Distillery. A relatively young distillery having only been established in 1995, Arran have really hit their stride as some of the older whiskies have reached maturity and been released. This 18 year old is incredible value when you consider most are £100+ and this Sherry cask finish Malt is absolutely singing. A medley of caramelised orange notes, baked peach and toffee spice all backed up with delicious charred oak in the finish.

4) Douglas Laing ‘Timorous Beastie’, 46.8% 
£39.99- only 4 bottles available- buy online

The original Timorous Beastie, immortalised in Robert Burns’ famous Scots poem “To a Mouse” was a timid, little field mouse… the whisky in this bottle is certainly not that! Bottled at 46.8% with no chill filtering or caramel this is a glorious blend of some of the Highlands finest malts including Blair Athol, Dalmore, Glengoyne and Glen Garioch. A big and bold Blended Malt matured in Bourbon casks and showing a medley of sweet vanilla, light spicy barley, a touch of soft brown sugar and then long lingering toasty oak notes in the finish. Raise a glass to Robbie Burns and his wee Timorous Beastie…

If you really want to shake things up:
1) The Lakes Distillery ‘Steel Bonnets’, 46%
£59.99 a bottle now £54.99 SAVE £5- buy online
The Lakes Distillery has quickly become one of the best and most awarded distilleries in England. Steel Bonnet is created with the highest quality malt whiskies from either side of the border; The Lakes Single Malt Whisky from England and some of the most respected malts from Scotland. Definitely something a little more unusual worth trying this Burns night.
Burns Night is an excellent reason to reach for the underrated haggis, or the perfect opportunity to give it a go if you haven’t tried it before! Matt has put together a few wine recommendations that will match perfectly with your traditional Scottish dinner…

Yealands Single Vineyard Gruner Veltliner 2019 £16.49
Grown on the coastal vineyards of the Awatere Valley, the offshore winds influence the growing conditions of the grapes. Aromas of stone fruit but with a fresh twist of white pepper. On the palate there are similar flavours with a touch of richness but finishing with a fresh burst of minerality. This would be a perfect balance for the aromatic herbs and spices used in Haggis.

Campuget ‘Invitation’ Rose Syrah/Grenache 2019 £8.99 

Another wine grown near the Mediterranean coast near Marseilles, the combination of Syrah and Grenache give this wine a hint of red fruit without too much sweetness, but again a hint of spice on the background balances well with the Haggis spices.

The Other Wine Co. Grenache 2016 £17.99

The other label of the well-known Aussie winemaking duo of Shaw+Smith. This wine is classic Grenache, loads of bramble and red fruits. It only spends a minimal time in oak so as to maintain bright colours and vibrancy. Fresh acidity will cut through the richness of the meal and a glass for after by the fire!!