In honor of Scotland’s beloved bard, I’m reviewing a single malt this week that I can thinly connect to Roberts Burns, but confidently recommend for Burns Night.
Glen Garioch, pronounced Glen Geery, is one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries and is also the most easterly, about eighteen miles northwest of Aberdeen.
Oldeldrum is the distillery’s hometown, renowned for its beautiful barley and founded in 1797, mere months after Burns’ death.
A man who clearly enjoyed his whisky, Burns was said to claim it as his muse, finding it “fueled his creativity.”
After reading his ode to Ferintosh, (apparently his preferred dram of the times) one might conclude it also “blurred his vision,” except I have been reassured the poem made sense to those on the next bar stool over.
Still, I’ll let you be the judge, because I’m sure most folks have seen plenty of modern day examples posted on YouTube, where after one round too many, the guy standing on the bar suddenly thinks he’s Patrick Henry, or Cicero … or Rick Perry.
You don’t see a lot of poetry like that scribed by Robert Burns of late. Maybe we’ve all learned our lesson and have stopped putting together bound volumes of the one hundred greatest slurred sentences by drunken people we admire.
Here’s a taste …
Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost!
Scotland lament frae coast to coast!
Now colic grips, an barkin hoast
May kill us a’;
For loyal Forbes’ charter’d boast
Is taen awa!
Thae curst horse-leeches o th’ Excise,
Wha mak the whisky stells their prize!
Haud up thy han’, Deil! ance, twice, thrice!
There, seize the blinkers!
Umm … maybe we should seize the bottle, hey Rabbie?
All kidding aside, the man wrote a great deal of laudable poetry. Whether scathing, satirical, humorous or beautiful, worthy words for an appreciative audience. I think many a flask of Glen Garioch, had it been present with Burns and in a hand not grasping a woman or pen, would have been repeatedly emptied and maybe even next in line as the focus of homage.
Color: My one serious complaint. Although an eye-catching amber, it’s not natural. The words mit farbstoff on the label reveals—allbeit in German—that caramel coloring is added.
Nose: malty, dried fruits—mainly raisins.
Taste: butterscotch, honey and black pepper. Maybe a touch of chocolate.
Finish: malt, spice and notes of citrus. A bit dry.
Although certainly not my favorite tipple, Glen Garioch 1797 Founders Reserve should be a general crowd pleaser for your Burns Supper.