Of course we can only speculate as to exactly how whisky would have tasted at the end of the 18th century. However, we know that all whisky at the time was peated, and unlike 95% of Scotch whisky today, it wouldn’t have been matured in ex-bourbon casks. Sherry, wine and ale casks were used instead.
Much of it would have been strong and harsh, such as the “rascally liquor” Burns imbibed at Poosie Nansie’s in Mauchline. This rough, young spirit would have been distilled in the lowlands, most likely at the Kilbagie distillery. Indeed, we know that Burns preferred the Highland style, as he lamented the demise of one of the most reputable distilleries in Scotland in his poem Scotch Drink.
“Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost!
Although work is underway on a new distillery on the Ferintosh Estate, for the moment the closest distillery is at Glen Ord, on the edge of the Black Isle. A little further afield lie Dalmore across the Cromarty Firth, and Brackla across the Moray Firth. Casks from all three distilleries feature in our recent Cask Collection release, reflecting the high regard in which whisky from this region is still held.
Furthermore, one of Burns’ most famous lines, which visitors to our Whisky Experience in Kirkoswald will see featured prominently above the doorway, gives us a clearer idea of his preferences.
“Freedom and whisky gang thegither!”
So why not embrace the spirit of freedom this Burns Night by trying out a limited edition whisky from an independent bottler based in the heart of Burns Country. Everything in our cask collection is bottled without chill-filtration or added colour, just as all single malt would have been over 200 years ago.
We think we know what Burns would have looked for when selecting a whisky for his birthday, but which dram will you choose to mark the occasion?
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