Happy birthday, Rabbie!
In case you don’t know, the 25th of January marks the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland’s most famous national poet, writer of Auld Lang Syne (AKA the New Years song 😉 ) and pioneer of the Romantic movement.
The day is marked with a celebratory Burns Night supper of haggis, neeps and tatties, plus a wee dram of whisky.
To translate, that’s Scotland’s national dish (made of meat, oatmeal, onions, suet & spices encased in sheeps’ stomach); turnips, potatoes and whisky, or Scotch, as it’s known outside our borders.
Burns’ ever appropriate poem ‘Address to a Haggis’ is recited to the haggis… after a bit of bag piping to mark its entrance, if you’re really committed to it. Basically, it’s the night Scots are Scottish to the nth degree.
Purists would argue that the whisky is non-negotiable — it’s a Scottish holiday for a Scottish poet! — but, as it turns out, we’re not purists.
Can there be a better night to drink gin that’s been aged in whisky barrels? Scottish barrel aged gin should no doubt grace your table on Burns Night. Let’s have some fun.
Lassie’s Toast Gin
Featuring no less than Robert Burns’ favourite tea, Lassie’s Toast by Dunnet Bay Distillery couldn’t be more fitting for Burns night.
Makar Oak Aged Gin, £35
Glasgow Distillery’s entry in the barrel aged gin is a beautiful one. Matured in virgin oak wood casks, Makar Oak Aged Gin is gorgeously hued, complex and peppery. It even won the Scottish Gin Awards 2017 gold medal in aged gin.
Pickering’s Oak Aged Gin
Pickering’s, makers of the much coveted Christmas baubles, carry a little fleet of barrel aged gins. The Pickering’s Oak Aged Gin collection, which launched in 2016, boasts five differently aged bottles.
The gins have all been rested in casks from different Scottish whisky regions: the lowlands, islands, Speyside, Highlands and Islay.
The range come in handy half bottles so you can really experiment.
Light, luscious and creamy. Expect lemon and vanilla on the nose with “dried dates and fig” on the palate with a warm malted biscuit finish.
This gin has been aged in casks from island distilleries like Orkney, Skye, Mull, Arran and Jura.
Bold on the peat like it’s whisky predecessor, the Island gin’s saline notes float through beside dried fruits and citrus.
Amazingly, over half of Scotland’s whisky distilleries lie in the northeast. Watch out anise on the nose plus oak, vanilla and rich fruitcake to taste.
Big on the juniper and woody, the Highland gin carries sweet dried fruit notes well balanced by wood.
Islay Oak Aged Gin, £25
Punchy and peaty as you’d expect with an Islay whisky, this barrel aged gin is for total smoke heads.