The judges have conferred, discussed, mused and argued. Now after much debate, we have chosen a winner in our Robert Burns Single Malt competition. Here are all the details:

It’s Burns Night which means that it’s time to announce the winner of our poetry competition. We were inundated with entries, from haikus to rude limericks to long poems written in the style of Burns. There were many that rhymed whisky with frisky, some that made us laugh, and others that made us groan. There were even a few that were too obscene to print. Overall though, we were amazed by how much effort some of you put in. Who knew Master of Malt customers would be so talented? We were so impressed that we’ve picked five runners up who will all receive drams.

They were Alexander A. Stuart for his Scots epic, Neil Mackenzie for his story of whisky-induced revelry, Anne Coghlan for her tribute to Burns, Lynsey Kane for her jovial toast to Rabbie and finally, a perfectly-weighted haiku from Jack Backwell. These are all printed below. Well done, you have all more than earned your prizes.

Picking a winner was difficult but in the end we went for Richard Foster’s entry because he told a good story, made us laugh and the poem had a great rhythm, perfect for declaiming on Burns Night. We would go as far as saying that the opening stanza had Edgar Allen Poe-esque quality. Thank you Mr Foster, a bottle of Robert Burns Single Malt from the Isle of Arran Distillery is on its way (though sadly won’t be with you to celebrate tonight.) Someone from MoM has been in touch with all of you to tell you when to expect your prizes.

BurnsThe perfect prize for a poet!
Congratulations to the winner and runners-up and thank you to everyone who entered. We hope you all enjoy yourselves this evening. Slàinte mhath!

Here is the winning entry:

“Twas dreaming of a waxy dram
One yonder evening past
When from my bottle came no more
It seems I’d poured my last
I searched my larder high and low
Checked all about my cellar
But nothing found I in my house
A poor and drinkless fella
But I, alas, remembered
stowed a bottle long ago,
Beneath my parents bedstead
(Where I know they wouldn’t go)
Ran I the endless distance
Down to the end of t’street
My footsteps echoed as I pounded
Twas shoeless on my feet
I snuck in through the backdoor
Floors creaking underfoot
My hand grazed past a chimney
My digits caked in soot
I reached the stairs, ascended,
my own breath like a gale
My hand upon the bannister
left a guilty, sooty trail
Outside my parents chamber
my heart leapt to my throat
The door creaked open slowly
but no reaction did emote
Crawling cross the floorboards
my hands now drenched in sweat
I slipped beneath my parents bed
As above me they both slept
My arm reached to the skirting
It scuttled cross the floor
I couldn’t feel anything
Twas my last bottle no more?
Then ghastly, grabbed an ankle
My father’s hairy leg
He’d swung his body sideways
And was getting out of bed!
He lumbered to the bathroom
(and did his business there)
while I tried unsuccessfully
to creep back to the stairs
He smiled when he saw me
I hadn’t fazed his stride
Then he opened up the cistern
And reached his hand inside
Out came a dripping bottle
the golden nectar full to t’brim
He popped the cork and took a swig
The gestured i come in
I shut the door behind me,
Like naughty kids we beamed
As we drank the holy liquid
Of which I’d only dreamed
At last, with bottle finished
He thanked me for the dram
Then placed a hand upon me
We stood there man to man
Said he, now son remember
When you next come here for tea
Bring two bottles next time
One for you, and one for me!”
Richard Foster
And the runners-up:

“Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie”,
Burns wrote about ‘A Mouse’,
But he also liked to take a wee dram, at home in his Dumfries house.
Poor Robert only lived to the age of thirty-seven,
With his lamenting verse now viewed as manna from Heaven.
But, as well as a talent for outstanding oration,
Did you know that Burns was an ardent Freemason?
Liberty, fraternity and equality thus became Burns’ mantle,
With fine Highland malt he so much loved to sample.
His favourite malt was Ferintosh, but as he wrote, “”O Sadly Lost””,
He also partook of a brew made from heather,
“”As Freedom and Whisky Gung Together””.
These whiskies were Burns’ inspirational tonic,
As whisky is part of all things Masonic.
Burns’ early death, considered a literary disaster,
In Heaven he’s raising a glass to The Worshipful Master.”
Anne Coghlan, Lancashire
“From old cask to glass.
Liquid fire, honeyed smoke. Smooth
Wash of perfection.”
Jack Backwell, Southampton
“Some Devil made war, we’re past keeping score,
Good folk of all kinds rudely died.
But ev-e-ry race, agrees there’s a place,
Where the best of their souls do abide.
Gathered a horde, of spirits adored,
But in no two cups the same drink.
We are all of one race, in this post living place,
And this strains our host so let’s think.
Decide it by rank, said some princey wank,
The noblest among us must choose.
But there were kings by the score, and most were a bore,
plus each had his own brand of booze.
Some fellow stood up, with a wee steaming cup,
To sing of his country’s hot wine.
But he’d barely begun and then called his song done,
Little love for his rotting rice brine.
A big bearded fellow, with voice like a bellow,
Made verse for his blood warming meade.
Bee spit on ice, he made it sound nice,
And we all drank a toast to his reade.
A bald learned man, with a scroll in his hand,
Said he could prove all with math.
His logic said wine, and we said it was fine,
But then poured it all down the bath.
One from the plains, of sand without rains,
Said try his fermented horse milk.
We all sat there quiet, aghast at his diet,
But admired his robes for their silk.
A burgher stood up with a huge foamy cup,
To say that the best drink was beer.
Then bloated he burped, and farted what’s worse,
And we’d each need a keg carried here.
Then one who had fought with his brother for sport,
Said that corn made the finest we’d see.
But they named it for france, and taxed in advance,
Plus he sang all out of key.
Then Robbie Burns ghost saluted his host,
And called for each a fresh glass.
Now try you my drink, the best here I think,
And the only to match a Scots lass.
Our beauties are bold and our air it is cold.
Our peaks have old gods at their tops.
Our swords deeply pierce, or hold you in tierce
While we sneak a few tasty drops.
Taste yea the air from the land that’s most fair,
And the sun from the sky that’s most blue.
Drink in my rain filtered through plains,
Where the wheat grows in rows strait and true.
Taste you the gold that a poor man might hold,
Or maybe the peat smoke of hearth.
Or wind from our sea that blew over yea,
Then raced to the top of the Earth.
Cause if you came near my lass, with your muck in a glass,
You heroes would learn all of fear.
A lass with red hair, would take it a dare,
And scold you with words sharp as spears.
I call myself Scot, and that nectar’s called Scotch,
If whiskey is prince, here’s the KING.
Just use a small glass, lest you wake on your ass,
And never remember a thing.”
Alexander A. Stuart
“Twas on a Friday eventide,
On that day lang ‘fore set aside,
That we were join’d by friends maist dear,
Wha showered us wae gifts and gear,
Those guests we welcomed tae our hame,
Tho’ nane would welcome the acclaim,
I wouldnae hesitate to vet,
As the best folk that e’er I met,
Soon the Amber nectar’s flowin’,
A free-er tongue on a’ bestowin’,
Now everyone is takin’ part,
Ev’n those maist wary at the start,
The whisky whisks us mile ‘pon mile,
Cross th’length and breadth of Scotia’s Isle,
Frae High to Lowlands, Speyside through,
By ilka region for a few
These drams but set us on our way,
Tae Islay for a lengthy stay,
That island o’ the great peat reek,
The pungent flavour we a’ seek,
A’ other regions soon forgot,
We’re a’ on Islays fumes besot’,
The songs ring on intae the nicht,
Perchance our neeburs sleep tae blicht,
Those cares that seem e’er tae reside,
Can finally be cast aside,
John Barleycorn quickens the mind,
Leavin’ those burdens far behind,
We’re soon of a’ restraints bereft,
Till honest joy is a’ that’s left,
An’ sae it was on that braw nicht,
A’ earthly cares had taken flicht,
Leavin’ a man ‘mongst friends maist dear,
Drainin’ his dram, no care nor fear,
This lowly bard of little worth,
Wha scarce deserves sic boundless mirth,
Can count himsel’ above a’ blest
That joy he felt within his breast,
Much better men have never seen,
Though langer on this earth they’ve been,
That’s a’ I recalled anyway,
Whan I awoke late the next day,
My wife wha’s always maer controlled,
A different story might have told”
Neil Mackenzie, Glasgow
“A whisky to warm yer cockles,
When nights are dark and cauld.
We Scottish love our whisky,
It’s no just fur the auld.
To celebrate a birth,
And wet the baby’s heid.
To mourn the loss of granny,
Or anyone who’s deed.
We have it with our haggis,
Or any meal ataw.
We’d pit it oan oor porridge,
Coz whiskys just so braw.
It gets us through a long cold winter,
Autumn,spring and summer.
If i don’t win this competition,
It will be a total bummer.
We’ll have a wee dram when times are good,
And times when things are hard.
We’ll raise a glass to Rabbie Burns,
And toast the famous Bard. “
Lynsey Kane, Glasgow