Discover the best drams to enjoy on Burns Night

Words by
Charlotte McManus

20th January 2022

From solid all-rounders and exceptionally aged spirits to alluringly rare special editions, we've rounded up the most distinctive whiskies to toast Rabbie Burns with this year 

Discover the best drams to enjoy on Burns Night

The Glenturret 30 Year Old

With an august heritage that stretches back as far as 1763, The Glenturret is Scotland's oldest working distillery - Robert Burns himself was a fan, making it a natural choice to sample on January 25. Distinctively complex, with notes of vanilla, green apple and tropical fruit, the  30 Year Old single malt is particularly good. Back in 2019, the distillery was taken over by new owners - to mark the occasion, a 30-year-old spirit was filled into new European oak sherry casks to mature for a year before being blended with the 30-year-old that had remained in its original casks.

Only 750 bottles have been released to the public, so nab one while you can. 


Bushmills 16 Year Old 

Another historic name, Old Bushmills Distillery first opened its doors in 1608 (well before Rabbie Burns was even born). Located in County Antrim in Northern Island, the single malt whiskey it produces offers an interesting alternative to traditional Scotch. The 16 Year Old has been crafted in true Scottish style whilst being triple distilled for a smoother taste, complete with tasting notes of spiced red fruit and toasted almonds. Its single-malt blend was matured in Oloroso sherry butts and bourbon-seasoned barrels before being finished in port pipes, which is how the spirit gained its pretty ruby colour. 


Discover the best drams to enjoy on Burns Night

Port Askaig 45 Year Old 

Distilled on Hogmanay in 1968, this Port Askaig expression is really rather special. As an Islay whisky, it's also unusual in that it doesn't carry any of the signature peat flavour usually associated with the drams of the island. Like all of Port Askaig's bottlings, the 45 Year Old was released as a limited batch. Aged in no fewer than five refill sherry butts and bottled at cask strength, it's a dram with a complex, fruity flavour with hints of pineapple, smoke and black tea. 


Aberfeldy 40 Year Old

Another top-notch bottle, this 40 Year Old "Golden Dram" marks the most premium expression in the Aberfeldy range to date. On the nose are aromas of honeysuckle and freshly cut grass, while flavours of honey, biscuit and clove create a warm yet mellow experience on the palate. The whisky also has a noticeably smooth finish. 

Founded in 1896, while Aberfeldy is one of the younger distilleries in our list, it's also one of Scotland's fastest-growing single malt brands - and Robert Burns was known to be a fan of the Highland burgh, having used it as inspiration for "The Birks of Aberfeldy".

£2,500, available exclusively at the Dewar's Aberfeldy distillery and

Discover the best drams to enjoy on Burns Night

The Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 8

For the uninitiated, The Balvenie is a proudly traditional Scotch distillery based in Speyside. Though modest in size, it has achieved a slew of top awards in the industry over the years. The newest (and final) instalment in the distillery's fêted Tun 1590 series, which features drams made in 18 rare hand-selected casks in The Balvenie's stocks, Batch 8 is a non-chill filtered whisky with a distinctively rich character. Aromas of maple syrup and dark marmalade emerge on the nose, while sweet flavours of vanilla, honey and baked citrus tarts come to the fore on the palate.


Balblair 25 Year Old

As one of the oldest working distilleries in the northern Highlands, overlooking the Dornoch Firth, Balblair makes its single malts in traditional fashion - slow, steady and matured in traditional dunnage warehouses set on earthen floors. At the top end of Balblair's offering is the dark, full-bodied 25 Year Old single malt - an ideal dram to sip after Burns Night supper. Its aroma of over-ripe apricots, oak and liquorice is complemented by flavours of cacao, praline and blood orange. 


The Boobrie: The Ravenous Diver

As the sixth release in the Scottish Folklore Series from rare and antique whisky specialist Cask 88 - which celebrates one-off single cask expressions - The Boobrie makes for a truly special Burns Night dram. Named for the mythological shapeshifting beastie said to haunt the lochs of Scotland's west coast, the spirit is crafted from unpeated, triple-distilled, hand-made whisky sourced from the Springbank distillery. Aged for 21 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, it offers notes of sugarcane, almond and mandarin syrup with a light, subtle finish. Only 290 bottles have been produced, so collectors will have to be quick off the mark. 


Discover the best drams to enjoy on Burns Night

Glenfiddich Fire & Cane

Lastly, those with more adventurous leanings might consider an intriguing new release from Glenfiddich, named Fire & Cane. The fourth concept whisky in its Experimental Series, it consists of a blend of peated whisky with malts matured side by side in bourbon barrels before being finished in South American rum casks. The result is a smoky yet sweet dram with notes of caramel, toasted marshmallow and cinnamon, complete with the woody notes of a Highland peat campfire.