The Sassenach – an Outlandish whisky choice for Burns Night?

THE PROSPECT of toasting the Scottish bard with a dram named after the English may seem heretical, but Outlander star Sam Heughan’s new whisky brand, The Sassenach, is more Scottish than its name suggests.

The blended Scotch, originally released in small batches in 2020, takes its name from the blockbuster TV show, which Heughan stars in with Caitríona Balfe, and contains spirit from a number of Scottish distilleries. 

For the handful of readers who have never seen an episode, Heughan’s character frequently refers to Balfe’s – an Englishwoman – affectionately as ‘Sassenach’, a Gaelic term for an English person.

Outlander’s Sam Heughan

Late last year Heughan and the brand announced a partnership with Scottish restaurant operator the Kitchin Group, which runs four venues in and around Edinburgh.

The partnership – the first of its kind for the brand in the UK – will see the whisky showcased in each of the group’s eateries: The Kitchin in Leith, The Scran & Scallie in Stockbridge, Kora by Tom Kitchin in Bruntsfield and The Bonnie Badger in Gullane. 

Visitors to the venues are able to enjoy the whisky on its own or as part of a bespoke cocktail, The Outlander – a twist on a whisky sour which pairs The Sassenach with fresh-squeezed lemon, egg white, Douglas Fir syrups and orange bitters.

“We get such a sense of joy from introducing our guests to new, unique flavours and produce that they might not have tried before, so it’s great to be able to introduce them to The Sassenach – a new addition to our whisky collection,” said Tom Kitchin, who runs the Kitchin Group with wife Michaela.

“Our menus are all a reflection of the Scottish seasons and landscapes, so sharing a whisky that has been inspired by the Highland landscapes is a real marriage of flavours for us.”

The Sassenach is bottled and released via drinks company Sassenach Spirits, which Heughan founded with entrepreneur Alex Norouzi. 

“Chef Tom Kitchin has a shared respect, admiration, and passion for Scotland’s enviable larder so it feels fitting that The Sassenach will now be available at Kitchin Group venues,” said Heughan. “With many enjoying The Sassenach whisky at home, it’s wonderful to be able to bring it to the table at some of Scotland’s leading restaurants and bars.”