Scotch Guide: Burns Night 2014

How to celebrate Burns Night

It’s been almost a month since the holidays were over, and we miss indulging on rich food and good whisky. Fortunately, tomorrow is Burns Night, which celebrates the famed Scottish poet Robert Burns’ life and work on the 255th anniversary of his birth. The occasion is also the perfect excuse to enjoy a new Scotch. Here are several you need to try.

Auchentoshan Virgin Oak Limited Release ($130):

Distillers across Scotland are experimenting with aging their whiskies in a wide range of casks. The latest trend is using barrels made from new wood (instead of ones that previously held bourbon or sherry), including the smooth Auchentoshan Virgin Oak. The single malt is sweet with a pleasant spicy kick. And keep a look out for its sister brand Glen Garioch’s own Virgin Oak whisky ($110).

Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition ($30):

The roots of Cutty Sark’s newest blend stretch back to, you guessed it, Prohibition, when, according to the brand, its liquor was a staple in speakeasies. Even though this bottling is a potent 100-proof, it’s quite quaffable, with wine-like notes.

John Walker & Sons Odyssey ($1,100):

If you really appreciate Robert Burns’ poems, then splurge on Johnnie Walker’s silky Odyssey, which was introduced to the US a few weeks ago. It’s based on a decades-old recipe and contains a blend of only three single malts, which were then aged in European-oak casks.

The BenRiach Horizons 12 Year Old Triple Distilled ($80):

While most single malt Scotch is distilled twice, there are a handful of whiskies distilled a third time. Why bother? The resulting spirit is usually smoother and offers a slightly different style. Do your own taste test and pick up BenRiach’s 12-year-old.

Glenmorangie Companta ($99):

Love wine and whisky? Then you’ll be interested in Glenmorangie’s limited-edition Companta, which just started rolling out this month. It’s a mix of single malt that was finished in old grand cru wine casks from Burgundy producer Clos de Tart and single malt finished in casks that held a sweet fortified wine from Côtes du Rhône. The result is a unique dram that is both spicy and fruity with a long finish.

Glenfiddich Age of Discovery Bourbon Cask Reserve ($150):

This past fall, Glenfiddich released this 19-year-old single malt with hints of spice, wood and tobacco. It was matured exclusively in former bourbon barrels, which was a first for the distillery.

The GlenDronach 15 Year Old Tawny Port Wood Finish ($70):

No matter if you’re a big fan of port or not, you should try The GlenDronach’s 15-year-old, which starts out in European-oak casks and is finished in tawny port pipes. It has plenty of dark chocolate, raisin and wood notes.

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