Last night was Burns night. An evening of poetry
and drinking, celebrating the life and works of Scottish poet Robert Burns. We
look back at the life and work of Scotland’s most famous poet and his love of
whisky. To mark the occasion, we have also curated a Whisky Sale that started this Saturday made up of
some of our favourite bottles of Scotch.
25th is upon us, a day when the world gathers to celebrate the birth
and life of Scotland’s famed poet, Robert Burns. A well-educated advocate of
freedom, the tales of ‘Rabbie’ Burns are sung from Ayrshire
to the edges of Asia and the US. Many stories about the man are questioned,
after all tales of great poets tend to stretch over the years, yet one fact is
undoubtedly true – Burns was a huge lover of Scotch whisky.
in 1759, Burns was introduced to whisky at the age of 22 and included the drink
in many of his poems since. One of his most famous poems, Tam o’ Shanter,
speaks of Tam the farmer who often enjoyed a little bit too much of the liquid
gold we all know and love. ‘John Barleycorn’ and ‘Wi’ usquabae’ in the famed
passage below speak of whisky.
bold John Barleycorn!
dangers thou canst make us scorn!
tippenny, we fear nae evil;
usquabae, we'll face the devil!’
other works, Burns mentions whisky in a more subtle way, speaking of specific
whiskies, describing Lowland whisky as ‘rascally liquor’, and speaking of
English brandy as burning trash. Some believe Burns merely enjoyed whisky for
its effects, without caring about the quality or flavour of the liquor. Yet,
when reading carefully through his work and his frequent references to the
spirit, one can quickly see his deep love for the drink and even notice the
development in his taste as the years went by.
the matter beyond taste and revelry, Burns also composed poems focused on the
taxes and injustices against Scottish people when it came to distillation and
sale of whisky, or Scotland’s ‘national’ drink as he often referred to it.
Burns brought pen to paper once more to speak of the Scotch Distillery Act of 1786
which levied extra taxes on whisky exported to England, making life more
difficult for Scottish distillers. From drunken nights to freedom and
independence in distilling for the Scottish population, Burns was a true lover
and advocate of whisky, its creation, and people’s right to enjoy it.
Night – A Global Celebration
his passing in 1796, groups began to gather each year to celebrate Burns’ life
and accomplishments. The first gathering took place in 1801 at the Burns
cottage in Alloway, and much of what was said and done on that day has become
tradition has continued to this day with a proper celebration of Burns night
including haggis, readings of the poems and works by Burns, songs, and of
course, lots of whisky. Across the globe, thousands and thousands of whisky
lovers celebrate Burns night in a similar way. Over the years, the celebration
has grown to include everything ‘Scottish’ with kilts and bagpipes often
expected to make an appearance.
than anything, many believe whisky would never have reached its current size
and popularity globally, or come to be known as Scotland’s national drink
without Burns’ brave and unfiltered words, written and heard during a time in
history when not everyone was able to speak up.
In celebration of
Burns Night this year, we’ve put together a whisky sale of some of our favourite
bottles, many of which we expect Burns himself would enjoy...Check the here for the full list of whiskys included in the sale.