The Burns Night Poetry Competition 2023 has come to a close and it’s time to announce the victors!

Well, it’s Burns Night and before we can settle down with a dram of Scotch whisky, we’ve got some announcing to do. It’s time for this year’s poetry competition to end, after a staggering 265 entries. There were some absolutely terrific entries and we put those forward for you, the public, to make the ultimate decision. Below are your picks in each category. Congratulations to all the winners and be sure to enter next year if you feel like you’ve got what it takes to win!

Burns Night 2022

Well done to all who entered, and special congrats to our winners

The winner of The Scotch Drink award for the best poem is… Sally Ridgeon

The poem that got the most votes and that has been crowned the overall winner is The ploughman poet hangs up his hat, which has won Sally Ridgeon a bottle of Benriach 27 Year Old 1991 #1865 Rum Barrel.

The Ploughman Poet Hangs Up His Hat

The ploughman poet hangs up his hat
An evening silhouette in the doorway
As the last winter light fades out

He rubs his chapped hands together
His workman’s tools
Cold water stinging the cuts

The grit and grime of daily toil
Washes away
Soil streaming into ink.

Candle lit, he creaks into the corner chair.
A mouse-tail slips, unnoticed, away.
The first embers and the whisky glow
And words begin to jostle

Outside the window
The folds of overlapping hills
Vast, empty sky, starless, cold.

Inside his mind’s eye, these images flicker
Developing in the half-light
Inky loops dance on the empty page
And the music pours forth

The winner of  The Tam o’ Shanter award for the funniest poem is… Ben Harris!

The entry that made us all laugh the most was Whisky Shimmers Gold, which wins Ben Harris a prize of Darkness 8 Year Old! Here’s his poem:

Whisky Shimmers Gold

Whisky shimmers gold
Perfected by Japanese
Scots cry into bottle

The winner of The Auld Lang Syne award for the best belter is… Suzanne Wainwright

For those who wanted to craft words that made us belt them out like it’s Hogmanay, we offered you a chance to win a Johnnie Walker Blue Label Gift Set with 2x Crystal Glasses. That’s what Suzanne Wainwright has done by penning The Whiskey Thief!

The Whiskey Thief

Shibby shab shab, wibble wobble wobble!
I just fell off my stool into a Whiskey puddle.
A pesky little Leprauchan and Whiskey’s my favourite tipple.
I sneak in through the Maltings as I hear the liquor ripple.

I turn on the tasting tap, get Whiskey on my feet,
And Oh! the heady smell of caramel and of mossy peat.
I linger and I savour with Shillelagh aside my brogues,
I hum and quite intoxicated sing the Highland Rogue.

Full of Irish Blarney, upon my velvet cloak,
My pipe is lit with sweet tobacco leaf still some time to smoke.
And in a daze I dally a while, in my sweet repose.
While the nectar’s sweet, a stolen treat, I blow rings around toes.

Suddenly I hear Human steps on the staircase by the still,
I’d better scarper, if I can, I’ve really had my fill.
Oops I wobble, this spells trouble, I can barely stand up straight.
There goes another trip, this vintage is just great.

Off I go a-clattering down the Maltings Stairs,
I hear the Human bawl and shout, ” yer thieving devil !” he declares.

I shin it down a drain pipe, and leg it across the field.
In my daze I’d left the tap a-flowing with Whiskey yield.

Next day in the town, there were posters up on the heath.
“Wanted : Irish Leprauchen, the pesky Whiskey thief!”

Burns Night

Some cracking poems to enjoy here

The Red, Red Rose award for the best heartbreaker is… Frank Hilton

The Piper by Frank Hilton is what drew a tear from our eyes this year, so he has won a bottle of 70cl Deanston fill your own bottle, signed by master distiller Brendan McCarron.

The Piper

We all love the pipers,
Who pipe in the New Year.
Or walk along the battlements,
Filling enemy clans with fear.

Who march in Gaelic splendour,
At a Military Tattoo.
Or ‘pipe’ in the Haggis.
At a proper Scottish do.

But to the piper, who made us cry.
On that solemn day, in September.
I’ll raise a glass to you Sir.
You’re the one I’ll ‘always’ remember.

The Scots Bard award for the poem we think Burns would like the most is… Jacqui Wilce

The entry that people thought Burns would like the most if he was around to judge is Haggis In A Hat, which has won Jacqui Wilce a bottle of Seaweed & Aeons & Digging & Fire 18 Year Old. 

Haggis In A Hat

It was late at night and we were driving through some fields of corn and wheat
When the car in front slowed down and swerved and guess what we did see?
A small wee creature squat and round wearing a funny hat
This could not be! So disbelieving straight to the pub we went
Trying hard to forget
Seeing a haggis in a hat