Robert Burns and me and a lot of whisky


Robert Burns and I used the same pub.

Not at the same time, obviously, for even I wasn’t around in the 18th century.

No, I frequented the Globe Inn in Dumfries when I was a young reporter – wide-eyed, innocent and tousle-haired.

It was a characterful 16th century pub which the paper’s Aberdonian chief reporter insisted that we visit at 11am each working day for a drink.

The absent-minded editor didn’t much mind because he was usually locked in his office writing poetry of dubious quality.

It was at the Globe that I developed such a taste for whisky that I attempted to drink a glass from every bottle on the bar’s extensive top shelf on the lunchtime that I left the Dumfries & Galloway Standard.

It ended badly, with me face-down on the pavement outside and so impaired by the many and various whiskies I’d consumed that I was unable to attend my own leaving party that night.

Happily, being resolute, my love for whisky remains, though these days I savour the stuff rather than neck it back like Father Jack on a bad day.

Glengoyne whisky

Which is how I happened upon the whiskies of Glengoyne.

And my acquaintance with these subtle, sophisticated single malts meant I was thrilled to receive an invitation to Birmingham’s Hotel du Vin for a Burns Supper to showcase the whiskies alongside some fabulous dishes.

A welcome cocktail of Glengoyne 12-year-old with Champagne, demerara sugar, whisky barrel aged bitters and lemon was a refreshing drink – almost like a chilled hot toddy.

Glengoyne whisky

The Granny Smith and nutty flavours of the distillery’s 10-year-old was a perfect match for a starter of perfectly-cooked scallops with fennel, apple and a whisky dressing.

We toasted an absolutely tremendous haggis made by Findlay’s of Portobello – the best I’ve eaten in my long history of haggis-eating – with Glengoyne 18-year-old.

Now this is my favourite of the Glengoyne range – a lingering mouthful of Scotch with hints of almond, burnt orange, spice and dark sugar.


Hotel du Vin

Hotel du Vin’s own cocktail mixing Glengoyne 15-year-old with honey, lemon and Brewdog Dead Pony Ale was an enlivening and subtle partner to a dish of chicken, haggis, neeps and tatties in a creamy whisky sauce.

Then came cheeses with Glengoyne 21-year-old – an incredibly complex, rich and dark whisky with fruit cake, chocolate and sweet spice flavours that put me in mind of Pedro Ximenez sherry.

This is a drink to sip in front of a roaring fire whilst dozing and dreaming.

Which is what I may well do this evening when I delve into my drinks cupboard and pull out my bottle of 21-year-old.

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