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Booze banter: favourite Burns Night whiskies

Don your tartan, address your haggis, and get ready to ceilidh like never before – Burns Night is here and to celebrate, The Spirits Business editorial team has recommended some drams to toast the Scottish bard this evening.

Burns Night booze banter
The SB editorial team have shared their favourite whiskies from across Scotland

With more than 140 whisky distilleries, five regions, and endless blends, maturations and finishes to choose from, whittling down our favourite whiskies from across Scotland is no mean feat.

From peaty Highland drams and Islay single malts, to travel retail and gift shop-exclusives, keep reading to find out what the SB team reaches for when Scotch is on the cards.

The Macallan Harmony Collection Fine Cacao

Macallan Harmony

This whisky makes me feel like the woman in the Galaxy chocolate advert – it’s silky, luxurious, and definitely something I don’t want to share if I can help it. Although this is a travel retail-exclusive bottling, I got to sample this dram on a visit to The Macallan distillery, and was instantly hooked by the rich notes of chocolate that sweep across the palate on the first sip.

Further sips offer warming hints of ginger, with nuttiness of sweet marzipan, and then more of that rich chocolate (though not just any chocolate – we’re talking the posh chocolates you get at Christmas). I don’t want to lean into the exhaustive trope of drinking whisky by a fire, but this dram does lend itself beautifully to an indulgent night in, wedged into an armchair by a flickering flame.

Have I considered booking a holiday that leaves from Heathrow Terminal 5 just so I can scoop up a bottle from The Macallan Airport Boutique? Absolutely. Have I done it? Maybe.

Georgie Collins, digital editor

The Glenturret 10 Years Old Peat Smoked

Glenturret 2021 rangeI’m partial to a smoky whisky from time to time, and just before Christmas I was lucky enough to travel to Scotland to visit The Glenturret distillery. I vividly remember the smouldering smokiness wafting from my glass of The Glenturret 10 Years Old Peat Smoked.

This was a deliciously smoky dram – not too overpowering, but with enough oomph from the peat smoke to complement the notes of dark chocolate, gentle caramel and toasted marshmallows, and hints of woody spice. Just over a month since my visit, Burns Night seems like the perfect time to enjoy another dram of this smoky 10-year-old.

Melita Kiely, editor

Glenmorangie X

X by Glenmorangie developed for long drinks

Generally, I prefer my whisky mixed with something else – so whisky-based cocktails are my preference when it comes to Scotch. As a result, the release of Glenmorangie’s X bottling in 2021, created in collaboration with bartenders, quickly made it one of my top choices.

It has been designed for mixing in a number of cocktails, and simples ones at that, containing two to four ingredients. It’s a little sweeter in taste to the brand’s usual bottlings, and better for those still easing themselves into the category.

My favourite serve with Glenmorangie X has to be the Ginger Lemon Mule, and I can’t wait for the weather to get warmer so I can sip on this outside.

Alice Brooker, senior staff writer

Glasgow 1770 Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Triple Distilled

This charmingly fruity and honeyed single malt from Glasgow’s first distillery in more than 100 years remains a staple among my spirits shelves ever since the first lockdown. The liquid is warming with toffee notes and a distinct fruitiness.

The liquid undergoes an additional third distillation that removes heavier oiler compounds to ensure its smoothness, which certainly carries through on the palate. It was matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon casks and virgin American oak casks.

Sitting at just under the £50 (US$61.50) price mark, the dram has become even more affordable as the distillery recently shifted from 500ml bottles to a 700ml format at no extra cost to the drinker.

Nicola Carruthers, deputy editor

House of Lords single malt

This is a different kind of ‘exclusive’ bottling from me, as its one that can only be picked up in a gift shop… in the Houses of Parliament. I don’t make a habit of passing through the Palace of Westminster, but when the Peers Dining Room was opened to members of the public, I took advantage of the heavily subsidised bar and ordered myself a dram of the House of Lord’s single malt – and I was not disappointed, by the price nor the taste, so I bought a bottle to take home with me.

Specially selected for the House of Lords, the now discontinued 10-year-old single malt was crafted in Speyside by Old St Andrews, a family-owned independent bottler, who has created whiskies for celebrities including Miles Davis and Ron Burgundy (yes, Anchorman).

This particular whisky was such an easy drinker – soft and mellow, with a gentle tropical fruitiness that paired beautifully with warm summer nights – it quickly became my first bottle kill. I might replenish with the updated bottling from the gift shop – a 12-year-old from the same producer, and see how it compares.

Georgie Collins, digital editor

Bunnahabhain 12 Years Old


For a nightcap with a particularly strong kick, I reach for Bunnahabhain’s 12-year-old strength expression, clocking in at a whopping 56.5% ABV.

I pour this one in smaller doses as a winter warmer nightcap, with its flavours of cinnamon and dried fruits suiting chillier occasions perfectly.

Again, keeping to the whisky-based cocktail theme, Bunnahabhain produces the perfect Scotch for an Old Fashioned. Add one sugar cube, some bitters, a peel of orange and a splash of water to it, and you’ll find the same.

Alice Brooker, senior staff writer

The Dalmore 12 Years Old Sherry Cask

The Dalmore

For those wishing to splash out a little more, The Dalmore’s Sherry cask-matured 12-year-old is a real delight.

The Highland distillery uses a Sherry blend of aged oloroso and Pedro Ximénez from Andalusia in Spain to finish the whisky, creating a single malt with notes of orange, almonds and chocolate.

Creamy, nutty and instantly inviting, I have sipped many a dram under a cosy blanket during the colder evenings.

This gem of a dram has also become my go-to for upgrading my Old Fashioneds when entertaining at home. At £80 (US$98) a bottle, this is worth every penny, but it can only be purchased from specialist whisky retailer The Whisky Shop in the UK.

Nicola Carruthers, deputy editor

Rock Island Scotch Whisky & Tonic


Regular readers will know I am a huge advocate of minimal-fuss-drinking and convenient serves – so it’s hardly surprising to see me reach for the Rock Island Scotch Whisky & Tonic cans from Douglas Laing.

This ready-to-drink offering is made with Rock Island Scotch whisky, which marries single cask, single malts from the Scottish isles of Orkney, Arran, Jura and Islay.

Chill this in the fridge and crack it open to enjoy on its own, or poured over some ice,  and you have yourself a perfectly-crafted, lighter whisky-drinking option with a refreshing citrus hit.

Melita Kiely, editor

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