Robert Burns is a Scottish poet/lyricist whose work is celebrated worldwide. Considered the official poet of Scotland, he is best known for his poem “Auld Lang Syne,” the words of which are recited on New Year’s Eve (or Hogmanay, as it is known in Scotland).
The life of Robert Burns is celebrated on his birthday: each year on January 25, people get together, eat haggis, and drink whisky. Isn’t that what Scottish people do every day? I thought the same, but much to my surprise, many locals don’t eat haggis, nor do they drink whisky. Those who do, however, most certainly rejoice every year on January 25th to celebrate Robert Burns’ life with a special “supper.”
At the Burns Supper, a very important tradition is carried out in which Robert Burns’ poem “Address to a Haggis” is publicly read before you eat. We can’t help you learn how to address a haggis, but we can most certainly recommend our favorite whiskies for the holiday.
If you don’t want a smoky dram, I recommend either Dun Bheagan Glen Grant 15 Year or Compass Box Great King Street New York Blend. The Glen Grant has a complex sweetness that will stand up to your haggis. And the Compass Box is a great balance of everything. Plus I thought it might be nice to have something Scottish, but created specifically for NYC, since that is where most of us will be celebrating.
For a heavier whisky, but not quite peated beyond return, try Arran 10 Year. If smoke is your direction, why not try Kilchoman Machir Bay. The youthfulness of this whisky allows the smoky notes to shine, which would be a perfect match for haggis. But if you really want to knock it out of the park, go for the A.D. Rattray bottling of Bowmore 23 Year. This is one of the best whiskies we have seen at Astor in years.
Whatever you may choose, you couldn’t have picked a better day. In Robert Burns’ honor, all Single Malts are 15% off on January 25. Robert Burns would have no doubt picked up a few bottles for his address to the haggis.