Robbie Burns Day—Scotland’s holiday that celebrates beloved poet Robert Burns—is usually commemorated by eating haggis, a peculiar national dish to say the least. Traditionally made with sheep’s stomach, beef or lamb fat, and white onion, it is a savoury pudding that we certainly don’t see much of in Canada.
But those looking to mark the holiday, which takes place every year on January 25, can look to a more readily available and popular Scottish import: whisky.
On the famed Scottish island of Islay, also referred to as Queen of the Hebrides, sits the iconic Laphroaig distillery. Of note is Laphroaig Select, a bottle that pays homage to the distillery’s storied past while also experimenting with new flavours.
The soft golden liquid was hand-picked by Laphroaig master distiller John Campbell, who selected a combination from the finest casks in the brand’s portfolio: Triple Wood, Ten Year Old, PX Cask, and Quarter Cask. The result is a nose that starts with some light peat, but that gives way to sweet red fruit. Select’s round palate, which starts honeyed and ends with a subtle but indicated dryness and varied richness, is thanks to the spirit’s final six months of aging, which were done in American oak casks—an unconventional process for Scottish whisky. As such, Laphroaig Select is confident but not overpowering; it can easily be enjoyed on its own, no water needed (and those who really love peat should look elsewhere in Laphroaig’s collection). Bright and clean, with a finish that dips into citrus and florals (a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June, perhaps?), this easy drinker is a welcome toast to a noble poet.