5 Scotch Whiskies That Are Perfect for Burns Night 2024

Burns Night – the annual celebration of the life and works of legendary Scottish poet Robert Burns – sees much Scotch whisky consumed as part of the festivities. Each year, on January 25th, the world commemorates the great wordsmith by reading his poetry, eating haggis and sipping on a wee dram.

The first Burns Night is said to have taken place in 1801, just five years after Burns’ death at the tender age of 37. A group of friends and fans met at his former home in Alloway, Ayrshire. In the following two centuries, the event has grown to encompass all things Scottish. So, whether you are hosting an event or simply fancy a nice whisky to accompany your Burns Supper haggis, neeps, and tatties then we have suggestions for you.

The Blended One

Orchard House by Compass Box


It can be so easy to get fixated on single malts. However, most Scotch whisky sold around the globe sits in the blended category. There are many great products and famous names out there, which usually offer great versatility and value for money. Most can be sipped neat or over ice, but it is worth having a blended Scotch whisky in your arsenal as they are perfect for mixing or creating a cocktail.

Compass Box produce some of the best small-batch artisanal blended whiskies out there and they have won many awards worldwide over the last two decades. Orchard House is an exquisite example of a blended malt and sits within the core range.

It is a beautiful, fruit-driven whisky. The blenders have collated several fruity single malts from around Scotland and created a fine dram. Think of crisp green apple and poached pear with hints of vanilla, peach and apricot. A sublime whisky.

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The Light, Delicate One

Glenglassaugh Sandend

Lighter single-malt whiskies are often overlooked but can be just as expressive as heavier, richer ones. They tend to be fresh, vibrant and uplifting with more subtlety and a definitive understated class. This category includes some of the biggest selling Scotch single malt brands of all such as Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Glenmorangie. But there are also many options to choose from that are less well-known.

One such whisky is the Glenglassaugh Sandend. The Glenglassaugh distillery is located on the North Sea coast of the Highlands and has long been an underrated gem. Sandend refers to crescent-shaped Sandend Bay, which the distillery overlooks.

The expression forms part of a revamped core range that launched last summer and features ex-bourbon, ex-sherry and ex-Manzanilla sherry casks. The new range has given Glenglassaugh the attention and love from consumers that it deserves.

Expect notes of honeycomb, vanilla fudge and sultana mingling with green apple, lemon zest, tropical fruit and a hint of salinity.

Buy now at House of Malt

The Rich, Fruity One

Lochlea 5 years old

Whereas the lighter styles of Scotch single-malt whisky tend to mature predominantly in ex-bourbon barrels sourced from America, the richer single malts generally have part or full maturation in ex-sherry casks from Spain. These impart bold and sweet flavours into the spirit and lead the whiskies in a heavier direction. Macallan is the best-known of this style, along with Dalmore and Aberlour.

The Ayrshire farm distillery of Lochlea is a relative newcomer and one perfect for Burns Night – Robert Burns lived and worked on the farm where the distillery is located. This 5-year-old celebrates their fifth anniversary and is released for Burns Night 2024. Five different cask types are used – two ex-bourbon, two ex-Oloroso sherry and one ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry – including two from the very first distillation in August 2018.

Lochlea 5 years old is laced with fruit – think of raisin, prune and baked pineapple with a twist of candied lemon. Add in toasted hazelnut and brown sugar and you have a stunner that belies its youthful age.

Available soon at Master of Malt

The Smoky One

Glen Scotia Double Cask

Smoky and peaty whiskies can divide a room – some will love them; some will hate them. However, it is worth having one in your Burns Night arsenal, especially if you enjoy them. The key question is whether you want mild smokiness or something with a full-on peaty punch. For this occasion, milder is better as heavy smoke can overpower even the spiciest haggis.

Much like Glenglassaugh, the Campbeltown distillery of Glen Scotia is somewhat of an undiscovered gem. The town at the foot of the isolated Kintyre Peninsula was a whisky powerhouse during the Victorian era but fell on hard times. Glen Scotia was one of only two to survive and is known for its malty style with underlying smokiness.

Double Cask is a marriage of ex-bourbon and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks and gives flavoursome notes of toffee, vanilla and malted biscuits, all wrapped up in a whisp of gentle peat smoke. A wonderfully layered whisky that does not disappoint.

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The Treat Yourself One

Glenmorangie The Infinita 18 Years Old

The previous whiskies have all been around a similar price point, but sometimes you may want to splash out to pamper yourself and any Burns Night guests. Therefore, it is worth having a bottle with a higher budget. This could be a high-end blended Scotch such as Johnnie Walker Blue Label or an 18-year-old whisky from a single malt range, of which there are many. Ask yourself which style you want and go from there.

For this, the choice is Glenmorangie The Infinita 18 Years Old. Most Scotch whiskies of this age are good but this one is exceptional. With 100% maturation in ex-bourbon casks the whisky oozes class, elegance and sophistication. Glenmorangie is in the Highlands, way north of Inverness, and boasts the tallest single malt pot stills in Scotland.

Expect aromas and notes of vanilla pod, apricot jam and tropical fruits mingling with hazelnut praline, heather honey and zesty orange peel. Glenmorangie The Infinita 18 years old offers an exquisitely sumptuous and heady mix of aroma and flavour. Simply superb.

Buy now at Glenmorangie

Matt Chambers

Mr. Matt Chambers has been writing about whisky since 2008, becoming a brand consultant, educator, judge for IWSC and the Spirits Masters awards. His interests lie with the heritage behind the brands and distilleries. He also enjoys the obscure facts, figures and stories that bring the world of whisky to life. In short, what Matt doesn’t know about whisky isn’t worth knowing. You can find his blog named Whisky For Everyone here.