Water Of Life Society Tasting 15/2
This week the Edinburgh University Water of Life Society were celebrating the scottish bard himself
Robert Burns (25th January 1759 – 21st July 1796)
with the following drams:
Cutty Sark, the blended scotch; named after the tea clipper; named after the short skirt/nightdress worn by the young witch in Burns’s poem Tam O’Shanter
Her cutty-sark, o’ Paisley harn
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho’ sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie,-
Of course Tam got into his spot of trouble with the Witches after a wee dram o’whisky
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi’ tippeny, we fear nae evil;
Wi’ usquabae, we’ll face the devil!–
Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire in 1759 and his links with Ayrshire and Arran are well known. In fact, although the bard never actually visited the Isle of Arran, he is certain to have been able to see it on clear days as he laboured in the fields of Ayrshire on his father’s farm. At that time there were several illicit stills on Arran which produced whisky that was claimed by many to be “among the finest whiskies available”. This was shipped to Dunure in Ayrshire – then the centre of the illegal whisky trade – before being shipped to the gentry in Scotland’s major cities where they “took the Arran waters”.
A Bottle and a Friend:
Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o’ care, man?
Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man.
Wae worth that brandy, burnin trash!
Fell source o’ mony a pain an’ brash!
Twins mony a poor, doylt, drucken hash,
O’ half his days;
An’ sends, beside, auld Scotland’s cash
To her warst faes.
Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well!
Ye chief, to you my tale I tell,
Poor, plackless devils like mysel’!
It sets you ill,
Wi’ bitter, dearthfu’ wines to mell,
Or foreign gill.
May gravels round his blather wrench,
An’ gouts torment him, inch by inch,
What twists his gruntle wi’ a glunch
O’ sour disdain,
Out owre a glass o’ whisky-punch
Wi’ honest men!
O Whisky! soul o’ plays and pranks!
Accept a bardie’s gratfu’ thanks!
Notably Glen Garioch distillery was founded the year after Burns’ death
Grace after meat:
Lord, we thank, and thee adore,
For temporal gifts we little merit;
At present we will ask no more-
Let William Hislop give the spirit.
Also congratulations to the winners of our literary competition to write and recite a poem about whisky!