Robert Burns & His Love for Whisky

Why is Robert Burns Night a night for tasting whisky?

Every year on January 25th, Scotland and beyond come together to celebrate Robert Burns, the national poet. People enjoy suppers, address haggis, and most importantly, sample whisky.

Robert Burns’s love for whisky is well-known. He was not shy about praising Scotland’s national drink in his works. Throughout history, reports suggest that Burns himself enjoyed a drink from time to time.

Burns Night is celebrated worldwide to honor the poet’s birth. Many of Burns’s poems and songs talk about whisky and hospitality. One famous poem is “Tam o’ Shanter.”

In “Tam o’ Shanter,” Burns describes the joy of sharing whisky with friends and facing life’s challenges. The poem captures the spirit of Burns Night celebrations.

Burns was introduced to whisky at 22 when he was an apprentice before becoming a farmer. He casually mentioned whisky in various poems and songs throughout his life.

In “The Jolly Beggars,” Burns mentions a Scottish distillery named “Kilbagie.” This poem talks about a visit to a tavern where Kilbagie whisky was the drink of choice.

Burns wrote several poems centred around whisky, like “John Barleycorn.” In this poem, he not only praises the drink but also the process of making it. Whisky, according to Burns, can evoke a sense of bravery.

In “Scotch Drink,” Burns writes about how whisky can change a person’s mood. The poem defends whisky’s place in Scotland and addresses political issues with Scotch whisky producers.

Burns has consistently expressed his love for whisky in both songs and poems. In 1787, he wrote his famous song, known for toasting in whisky sessions, titled “A Bottle and A Friend,” as celebrated by Charles Maclean in his whisky tastings worldwide.

Burns’ most quoted and famous whisky writings come in 1786 with “The Author’s Earnest Cry and Prayer,” which starts addressed to “The Right Honourable and Honourable Scottish Representatives in The House of Commons.”

It is a passionate read in response to the Scotch Distillery Act of 1786, which imposed an extra duty on Scottish spirits exported to England, making it much more difficult for Scottish distillers to do business there. These writings represent an age-old argument with Scottish whisky exports even to the present day.

Glencairn proudly supports Robert Burns and his passion for whisky. Check out our limited edition Burns poetry set, which includes illustrations from Jim Drysdale featuring “Tam o’ Shanter” and “The Jolly Beggars,” among others.

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