The chances are that by the time you read this, you will probably have a fresh memory of enjoying a dram to toast Robert Burn’s, Scotland’s national poet. A traditional Burn’s Supper on January 25th, complete with its haggis, neeps and tatties, is a cultural event celebrated wherever Scots and lovers of Scotland gather.
However, while the poet’s own ‘Address to a Haggis’ and other poems were read amid the bagpipes and tartan, it is likely that the whisky tasted will not have been from his home county of Ayrshire. Instead, a familiar name like Glenfiddich, Talisker or Glenmorangie would have been served.
However, those interested in whisky investment as well as tasting the stuff might want to look beyond some of the more familiar names and see just what Ayrshire has to offer.
As the Ayrshire Whisky Group is only too keen to point out, the distilling of the amber dew in the area goes back centuries, even if some of that was not actually legal. Nonetheless, there are several well-established and perfectly lawful distilleries.
Richardtown Distillery near Darvel was the first of these, although it only operated for a few months in1795 and until recently one might have forgotten where Darvel is, although everyone in Aberdeen knows now.
Modern day distilleries in Ayrshire include those at Girvan and Ailsa Bay, but that is just a small part of the history. After all, Johnny Walker began in Kilmarnock in 1820, but links with the county declined and ended altogether when Diageo closed the bottling plant there in 2012.
The article also mentioned the Ladyburn Distillery, which was open from 1965 to 1975 and whose wares are thus very rare and “much sought after”.
Perhaps the most important consideration is that Ayrshire whiskies share certain characteristics with other lowlanders that could provide a long-term boost to their value. Visit Scotland describes their distinct tastes as being lighter than other malts: “Often triple distilled, these malts are unpeated and lighter in nature, with a gentle, elegant palate, reminiscent of sweetness,” it said.
Should such flavours become especially popular in some quarters, today’s Ayrshire cask could prove a highly valuable investment in years to come.