Burns Night is one of those times that as an Englishman I should know about but don’t know about and when involved in a conversation about it, would nod understandingly and then pretend to have already known the content of the conversation.
To be honest this would have continued with all success of previous years until I was emailed by the PR of whiskey company Old Pulteney to ask if I wanted to receive a Burns Box. This was timely poke to maybe learn and try a new Scotch at the same time.
I don’t tend to change the scotch I drink regularly so this was a welcome opportunity to try something I had only heard about and never bought.
As I waited for the box, I did some reading. If a scotch brand is doing some PR around a specific day, then it is probably an important day. As it turns out, I’m very very embarrassed to have not known much about Burns or Burns Night.
BIG FACT –
ROBERT BURNS WROTE AULD LANG SYNE
Robert Burns is THE Scottish poet. Much like Blake, Wordsworth or Keats for English Poetry – Burns is the name of Scottish Poetry.
I think reason we don’t study Burns is the translation to the English audience. The old Scottish tongue used in his poetry is thick and pretty much a foreign language (which I’m sure some of my Scottish friends would welcome). Take “Auld Lang Syne” for example. We say this phrase but the English translation is loosely “For old time’s sake” – which is why we sing it on New Year’s.
What Do You Do on Burns Night?
Traditionally you read Burns Poetry and have a Haggis Supper. This involves preparing and eating a Haggis.
- Say Grace
- Listen to Bagpipes
- Address the Haggis
- Eat Haggis
- Toast to women
- Drink Scotch
- Sing Auld Lang Syne
That would explain the contents of my box. A tin of Haggis, a small bottle of Old Pulteney, a peice of paper with a very difficult to read poem and (my favourite) a tin of Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whiskey FUDGE!!! Yes FUDGE!!
All I can say is this fudge is amazing. The Scotch is secondary at this point but it’s effect on fudge is bliss!
Check it out-
So now that I know what Burns Night is all about I think I’ll crack open the wee bottle of Old Pulteney and try and read the poem in my best Glaswegian accent.
I have funny feeling that as I drink more, the better I will pronounce the poem.
You can get Haggis from supermarkets these days or from your local butcher. I suspect they will have offers on the Haggis for the day.
Haggis is a Sheep bladder, stuffed with – sheep’s liver, lung, heart and suet and seasoning. There is also a veggie version with beans. Both are nice. It is very strong taste and like a course mincemeat.
They are usually sold half cooked and need boiling. Serve with Swede and Whiskey! Finish with fudge!
How is the whiskey
After all it deserves a mention given I wouldn’t have looked into Burns Night without the fantastically done outreach by the PR team – it is actually quite nice. It not as smoky as Laphroaig which is my norm and not as sweet as Glenlivet so it is a nice balance between the two. It’s got quite a fruity aftertaste and a salty tone so I’d have it after a strong flavoured fish dish. Which given it’s home in Wick at the very top of Scotland along the Eastern shore, makes sense.
Thanks to Old Pulteney, especially for the fudge. You can buy the fudge here. I will be buying some more and some for presents!