Celebrating Robert Burns With the Perfect Whisky
Celebrating Robert Burns With the Perfect Whisky
Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard, lived in various locations throughout his life, primarily in the southwestern region of Scotland known as Ayrshire. We’ve connected whiskies with these areas understanding that most of these distilleries would have taken inspiration from poems and landscapes that also influenced Robert Burns poetry.
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This region of Scotland was where Robert Burns was born and lived in his younger years. Our connection with Robert Burns and whisky is known from distilleries such as Lochlea Distillery, Arran Distillery, Lagg Distillery and Ailsa Bay Distillery.
Robert Burns had a significant connection to Lochlea Farm, which was located near Tarbolton in Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1777, when Burns was around 18 years old, his father, William Burness (the spelling of the family name was later changed to “Burns”), leased the 70-acre Lochlea Farm. The farm was rented on behalf of the family by Gavin Hamilton, a friend and neighbour of the Burns family. Lochlea Farm was where Robert Burns spent a formative period of his life, engaging in farming activities and observing the rhythms of rural life. It was during his time at Lochlea that Burns began to write poetry, influenced by his experiences, observations, and the folk culture of the Scottish countryside.
Lochlea Our Barley – The Our Barley expression is the first in the core range products from the distillery. This follows on from the distilleries first Single Malt release. The whisky is matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks, as well as shaved, toasted and re-charred barriques, the whisky was bottled without any added colour, or chillfiltration. It is very impressive for something so young. Click Here
Lochlea Sowing Second Crop – The Lochlea Distillery first kicked off a series of limited edition bottlings with the Sowing Edition First Crop. The range shines a light on the growing of the most important ingredient for single malt whisky – barley. This particular expression represents spring, when the barley seeds are sown. This is the second release of the Lochlea Sowing Edition. This single malt Scotch whisky has been matured in first-fill bourbon barrels, and bottled without chill-filtration or added colour. Sowing Edition celebrates spring on the Lochlea farm.
Just a stone’s throw away, Arran Distillery resonates with Lochlea’s spirit, crafting whiskies that echo the island’s rugged coastline and majestic mountains. In this narrative, Burns’ poetic musings on nature’s grandeur inspire Arran’s master distillers to create expressions of unparalleled complexity and depth. There are no known visits to the island by Robert Burns however the close proximity would have suggested he visited the island and also took inspiration from the scenic views.
Arran Gold – Since its launch in 2004, it has become incredibly popular and everyone who has tasted Arran Gold agrees that they would happily ditch their usual bland cream liqueur in favour of this deeply delicious treat. Made with a healthy dose of Arran, this is a cream liqueur where you can really taste the quality. Tasty on its own, over ice, as an ice cream topping, in a coffee or even in a cheesecake.
Arran Barrel Reserve – 100% matured in first-fill Bourbon barrels combining casks at 7 – 8 years old with older casks to create a fresh and vibrant introduction to Arran Single Malt. Distilled at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran and matured at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran. Lightly filtered and bottled at 43% abv. Barrel Reserve is a fresh, vibrant multi-vintage expression of the Arran Single Malt.
Arran Quarter Cask The Bothy – This small batch release was matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels before being transferred for secondary maturation into smaller American oak casks for a minimum of 18 months. The whisky has a greater contact with oak and Arran then produce a more intense and powerful whisky. More rich vanilla, bold peppery spice and a little more sweetness. The whisky is then bottled at natural cask strength without chill-filtration and no artificial colouring or flavours are added, this is whisky in its purest form.
For hundreds of years, to increase their income, small Arran communities made their own spirit in illicit home-made stills. The resulting whisky, which became known as ‘Arran Waters’, was smuggled from Lagg and sold on mainland Scotland. In 2017, Arran Distillers began building their distillery and its magnificent visitor centre. Two years later, they’ve opened their doors to the waiting world. The architects have created a spectacular building to echo the contours of Arran as you’d see it from Ailsa Craig. Its dramatic roofs are covered with a sedum blanket. This contains a mix of plants that change colour with the seasons. The Lagg copper pot stills which are custom-made were installed on the distillery floor in August 2018, and now sit proudly alongside the mash tun and four traditional wooden washbacks.
LAGG Kilmory – The LAGG Distillery on the island of Arran has just released its flagship single malt whisky. Using water from the distilleries very own borehole and a specifically chosen barley variety named Concerto. The distillery also chose a specific yeast and have a tailored fermentation time which helps create this unique whisky. The peated spirit produced was matured in ex-Bourbon barrels and bottled at 46% Alc/Vol and there was no chill filtration or added colouring.
LAGG Corriecravie – The LAGG Distillery on the island of Arran has just released its second single malt whisky. Using water from the distilleries very own borehole and a specifically chosen barley variety named Concerto. The distillery also chose a specific yeast and have a tailored fermentation time which helps create this unique whisky. The peated spirit produced was initially matured in ex-Bourbon barrels and then the liquid was finished for approximately 6 months in ex-Oloroso Sherry hogsheads sourced from renowned producer Miguel Martin in Jerez, Spain. Bottled at 55% Alv/Vol and there was no chill filtration or added colouring. The Corriecravie Edition will be bottled in limited quantities once a year.
Ailsa Bay Distillery
Ailsa Bay Distillery draws inspiration from the themes and imagery found in Burns’ poetry. The distillery’s expressions reflect the beauty of Ayrshire’s natural landscapes and the spirit of innovation that Burns himself embodied. Each bottle becomes a canvas, capturing the essence of Ayrshire and paying tribute to Burns’ enduring legacy.
Ailsa Bay Release 1.2 – Ailsa Bay contains 21 PPM, the precise measurement of the phenol content in parts per million, which is assessed prior to bottling and is also the only Scotch whisky to undergo ‘Micro Maturation’. The distilleries new make spirit is first filled into Hudson Bay Bourbon Casks that are between 25-100 litres in size for six to nine months to mature. They are then transferred into virgin, first fill and refill American oak casks for several years. The process the first of its kind within the Scotch whisky industry.
Burns spent significant periods in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, where he gained literary acclaim and mingled with the city’s intellectual and social circles. He lived in Edinburgh during the height of his literary success and returned to the city several times throughout his life. The cities connection with whisky and Robert Burns has been selected through the Glenkinchie Distillery.
The Scottish Lowland whisky region isn’t famous for producing a large range of product for us to be tempted with and it doesn’t really show much in the way of limited edition bottlings. The Glenkinchie Distillery sits just outside the nations capital Edinburgh and has recently gone through a major refurbishment (2020). The distilleries spirit plays a vital part in the creation of Johnnie Walker blended Scotch whisky. This lowland distillery focuses on double distillation and matured most of its stock in barrels which have previously held bourbon.
Glenkinchie 12 Years Old – The Scottish Lowland whisky region isn’t famous for producing a large range of product for us to be tempted with and it doesn’t really show much in the way of limited edition bottlings. This flagship expression from the Glenkinchie Distillery proves that there is no need for fancy labels or high alcohol offerings. This is whisky from the lowlands of Scotland offered to us at perfection. Is it worth searching any further? Awarded the best lowland single malt whisky in 2016 by the World Whisky Awards which was placed on the shelf with so many other previous awards, it’s too hard to keep up. Matured in ex-Bourbon American oak barrels for no less than 12 years and bottled at 43% abv.
In the latter part of his life, Burns lived in Dumfries, where he worked as an excise officer. He resided at various locations in Dumfries, including a house on Mill Brae Street (now known as Burns Street) and a final residence on the outskirts of the town. We connect with Robert Burns through the Bladnoch Distillery and the area of Dumfrieshsire.
Robert Burns died in Dumfries on July 21st 1796 which is about a one hour drive from the Bladnoch Distiilery in Dumfries & Galloway. Journeying to the serene banks of the River Bladnoch, we find Bladnoch Distillery, where the pure waters and fertile fields yield whiskies of exceptional elegance. Inspired by Burns’ reflections on life’s fleeting moments and enduring truths, Bladnoch’s expressions embody a philosophy of craftsmanship and contemplation.
Bladnoch Samsara – Bladnoch Samsara (meaning rebirth) is a salute to the rebirth of the Bladnoch distillery. This full bodied fragrant single malt whisky has a rich core and lingering tail. Award winning Master Distiller Ian MacMillan has hand selected American oak first fill ex Bourbon casks and American oak first fill ex Californian Red Wine casks and matured the spirit for no less than 8 years.
and finally we give special mention the the whisky that is named after the Bard himself. From the Arran Distillery the Robert Burns Single Malt Scotch Whisky….
This is an official Arran Single Malt which has been endorsed by The World Robert Burns Federation in tribute to Scotland’s greatest poet. Made from 70% Bourbon Casks and 30% Sherry Casks, this light aromatic Single Malt is ideal for drinking, prior to or during a meal. Very fresh with no artificial colouring, this beautifully packaged malt is made for easy drinking.
we raise a glass to the Immortal Robert Burns………Slàinte Mhath!
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