They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Celebrate In Style!

It seems it's Burns Night once again! A night that seems to come around quicker and quicker these days. One night to be a little more decadent than one often should.

What better way to start the evening than, not with a beer, not with a whisky, but with a whisky beer!

Ola Dubh is a fantastic beer, and a fantastic range of beers (12,16,18,30,40yrs) from the ever impressive Harviestoun Brewery. If you've not heard of the beer before (I'm sure you have) it's Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil aged for some time in Highland Park Whisky casks (in different respectable ages) and basically translates as 'Black Oil'. This 8% beer pours intensely black in colour, with the most inviting of aromas consisting of; liquorice, roasted grain, oak, vanilla, dried fruit and a little chocolate. The flavours are thick, rich and moorish. More of the flavours really make a push forward in the body, with a little smokiness coming through on the sides of the tongue.

Of course a beer this good deserves a good food pairing.

An this being Burns Night it has to be haggis, but what to pair it with???

I thought up many concoctions and combinations to try out, all sounding delicious in my own mind. - as a side note, haggis is delicious! What's wrong with you Mark??? -

At the end of the day all I could come up with is this though:

Just slap loads of the stuff in a big bowl....

That was dinner then. Those of you out there who've not had the indulgence of haggis, you are missing out, and those of you who don't approve - What's not to like?!?

After literally stuffing my face full of meat and beer, it was time for the after dinner treat that is the king of all after dinner treats, with your dinner treats, and general man's (or woman's if you are one) best friend.


It's always difficult to decide which I think I like better when it comes to beer and whisky when I get asked. I always like to say they're two different arms of the same chair.

Tonight's selection comes from the Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection; a 1994 (15yr) Caol Ila at 45%, finished in Tokaji wooden barrels and limited to only 492 bottles.

It's probably the most bizarre whisky I've ever drunk. Even at 45% (not that strong) and with more than a couple of drops of water, it still delivers a huge boozy hit, which does the amazing trick of making you feel it twice - once after the swallow, and again about 3/4 seconds later after you've thought 'is that it?'. Intensely peaty with some slight rock salt and smoke, but it has a weird sweet apple quality about it making it completely different to anything I've tried. Quite a big hit of orange tanginess too amongst some sherbet buzzing, a truly invigorating dram, even if your mouth is left a little dry and ashy afterwards.

That's probably going to be it for my decadence tonight, I have a game of football to play in the rain... perfect warm up then I guess! I hope you all had something special as well.

Let other poets raise a fracas 
"Bout vines, an' wines, an' drucken Bacchus, 
An' crabbit names an'stories wrack us, 
An' grate our lug: 
I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us, 
In glass or jug. 

O thou, my muse! guid auld Scotch drink! 
Whether thro' wimplin worms thou jink, 
Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink, 
In glorious faem, 
Inspire me, till I lisp an' wink, 
To sing thy name! 


  1. Reading this makes me realise that I just don't make the effort for Burns night. This is probably becasue I have never considered it as a celebration that I can get involved in. Next year I'll change, haggis and whisky should not be missed when given the excuse to have them as starter, main and dessert. Got some Ola Dubh's stashed, so may get some practice in :)

  2. Thanks again for your whiskey aged beer advice pre xmas, i did indeed go for the Ola Dubh, an 18 for the present, and i took a 12 myself, yet to have it though. Cheers Ghostie!
    Love haggis myself.