Robbie Burns: Born: 25th January 1759
He wrote poetry & enjoyed Scotch Whisky until 21st July 1796
Robert Burns: National Poet of Scotland.
In 2009, Robbie Burns was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish TV.
Robbie Burns Day is celebrated worldwide at the end of January.
Let’s talk Scotch Whisky
Scotland is split into 5 whisky producing regions:
41 Distilleries in the Highlands
50 Distilleries in Speyside
– which is within the Highlands.
To quote my good friend George Grant of
Glenfarclas Scotch Whisky … every Speyside is a Highland …
but not every Highland is a Speyside.
13 Distilleries in Lowland
– best known from this region would be Auchentoshan
03 Distilleries in Campbeltown
– they’ve got Springbank.
08 Distilleries in Islay
– revered by Peat-heads who seek out the smokey aroma’s & expressions of Islay Scotch Whisky.
Let’s take a look at a few different Scotch Whisky expressions:
Robbie Burns NAS – No Age Statement
Isle of Arran Single Malt Scotch.
Isle of Arran – 7th largest Scottish Island.
American Oak ex-Bourbon casks.
Finished in ex-Sherry hogsheads.
“The Color is described as that: of Ayrshire Sunshine”
“A true drop of Liquid Poetry”
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Very approachable in both aroma & flavor.
A malt with an excellent price point & taste profile.
Great for people new to whisky & appreciated by experienced drammers.
Balvenie DoubleWood 12yo
Highland Single Malt
Matured in American ex-Bourbon Casks
Finished in Sherry Casks – which can impart more sweetness, dried fruits, depending on the type of Sherry cask.
Why do distilleries choose to mention the different casks used for maturing their whisky?
A lot of the flavour of whisky comes from the oak casks in which it rests until it’s bottled. There’s a big difference in the type of casks used for Scotch Whisky … both in price and in flavour profile.
American Oak used for 1st fill Bourbon Casks are valued at about $150.00
impart flavours of light vanilla, coconut and toffee.
French Oak / Barriques are smaller than American casks and are valued at over $1500.00.
French oak has a different grain and imparts vanilla & caramel flavours.
When you consider the price differences in American vs French vs European oak alone, that means the type of cask used will influence not only flavor, but the final price to the consumer.
Highland Park 18yo
Orkney Single Malt
Highland Park is one of only a handful of distilleries that still retains a traditional malting floor.
Highland Park turns each batch of malt by hand. It’s a physically demanding, time-consuming process.
Think about it … shoveling grain. All day.
Highland Park 18yo will have a slight peatiness to it.
Peat is that smoky characteristic sometimes found in Scotch whisky.
The Orkney islands, home of Highland Park, have an abundance of sweet, heathery, peat.
Peat is used to heat the barley so germination can take place, changing the starch to sugars which can be distilled.
Subsequently, the smokiness from the peat imparts a smoky flavor into the liquid.
Islay (pro: eye-LAH) Single Malt
Massive smokey – peat aroma & flavours.
Iodine overtones. Brine-iness / Salty.
Meaty and woody-like oak influence.
So, on January 25 remember to raise a dram to Robbie Burns.
Recite some poetry and enjoy the warmth of fine Scotch Whisky.