The 25th of January is a highlight of the Scottish social calendar, a time when any Scot worthy of their tartan troosers will gather to celebrate the birthday of their most revered national poet, Robert Burns.
Burns Night supper celebrations follow a scripted order, passed down through generations of literature loving Scots – the main thrust of it being poetry recitals and the ceremonial stabbing of bags of offal, interspersed with various boozy toasts. The evening’s celebrations inevitably end with a giant chaotic ceilidh, which may or may not include bagpiping.
As you’d expect, the prefered booze on this occasion is the single malt, which makes this the perfect occasion for us to introduce our latest regular…Whisky Wednesday!
Granted, today is Monday, but after we post this one, future episodes will appear on Wednesday. Not every Wednesday though… sometimes we might forget or not be bothered. But anyway, kicking off the series is one of our favorite drams…
The Glenlivet Founders Reserve
Situated on the northerly, wind-lashed edge of the Cairngorms, the Glenlivet Distillery has been cranking out single malts since its inception in 1824. Many whisky aficionados consider its output to have set the standard for Speyside-style whisky, and who are we to argue? Our pals over the pond are certainly partial to a glass of Glen – it’s the number one selling brand in the USA.
Founder’s Reserve is Glenlivets unaged ‘entry level’ whisky.
In classic Speyside style, this pale golden whisky has a creamy and fruity character which errs on the sweet side. Unplug the bottle and take a good old sniff – you’ll be greeted with delicate hints of candied orange. There’s a whiff of toffee apple in there too. On taste, it offers up sweet and fruity mouthfuls, with hints toffee and chocolates. Finish is long, smooth and toffee-tasting.
Visit the distillery
It’s remote. As Brand Ambassador Ian Logan puts it, “If you find us by accident, you’re lost”. Unfortunately, there is no public transport that runs past the distillery, so unless you relish a ten-hour hike over the Cairngorms from Aviemore train station, you’d better clamber into a car. The Glenlivet Distillery is located ten miles from Tomintoul, on the B9008. Punch this postcode into your satnav and hope for the best.
If you actually manage to locate the place, you might as well take a tour. Distillery tours come in a variety of guises, from a £10 1 1/2 hr tour, to a £60 extravaganza which includes a tutored tasting and a complimentary whisky gift. There’s also the option to bound gleefully among the rugged Speyside scenery. Pick up a map from the visitors centre and head out among the heather on one of three signposted routes. Stout shoes and midge repellent are advisable.
George Smith, the founding father of Glenlivet, started out as a moonshiner who, in 1824, turned legit after obtaining the first licence ever granted to legally distill whisky. This didn’t go down too well with his illicit booze making compadres, so poor old George had to spend the following years sporting a pair of pistols in his trousers to protect himself and his family from jealous, violent repercussions.
Buy the booze
Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve
Price £28 for 700ml, 40% ABV
BONUS COCKTAIL RECIPE!
We prefer to imbibe our whisky neat to be honest, but if you fancy mixing it up, here’s a bonny recipe we’ve wrestled from Glenlivet’s whisky-based cocktail collection.
The Founder’s Reserve Auld Fashioned
3 dashes bitters
3 oz. The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve
1 tsp. water
1 sugar cube
1 orange peel twist
1 maraschino cherry
In a rocks glass, muddle the bitters and water into the sugar cube with a teaspoon or wooden muddler. Fill with ice cubes and add The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve. Garnish with an orange peel and maraschino cherry.