Five of the best - Drams for Burns’ Night

Celebrate the Ploughman Poet’s birthday with one of these fine Scottish single malts

Talisker 10-year-old

If Talisker were an item of clothing it would be a thick oiled wool jumper, or perhaps a sou’wester. It’s peaty, rugged, peppery and gutsy: a real fisherman’s friend. So, if you’re planning a Burns’ Night to put hairs on the chest, then this is the distillery for you. The 10-year-old is a good place to start. £30 at

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Dalmore Gran Reserva

If your Burns’ Night plans are more oak-paneled rooms, log fires, cigars and leather armchairs, then this whisky is a suitably sophisticated match. It’s a very easy drinking Highland single malt. Our tasting notes: marmalade, toffee and Christmas spice — in a word, smooth. £35.80 (£5 off) at

Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix

Every cloud has a silver lining, but few taste as good as this one. When massive snow falls in Scotland caused one of Glenfiddich’s warehouse roofs to collapse, the stock – casks of varying years and value – was at risk. Turning disaster into opportunity, the distillery created this extremely rare and (naturally) limited-edition bottle. £50 at (call for availability)

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The Macallan 18-year-old Sherry

For savouring not swigging, this bottle is worth every penny. Typical Macallan house style, this sherry cask-aged whisky (which, in our view, still has the edge on Fine Oak) is packed with flavours of ginger, spice, vanilla, fruit and more. Find a good friend and put the world to rights over a few healthy drams.

Also - although it won’t arrive in time for tonight - there’s still time to win a bottle of very collectable 20-year-old Macallan (see p54 of the Feb issue), plus prints from Scottish photographer Albert Watson – if we could enter, we would. £80 at

The Balvenie Portwood 21-year-old

This drop came to our attention when we were hunting for drinks to go with Mark Hix’s apple crumble (in our Feb issue) — it was a surprisingly brilliant match. From the sister distillery to Glenfiddich (so a Speyside), its fruity, caramelised and honeyed flavours make a cracking end to the meal – or perhaps a good way to toast the lassies. £80 at

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