Burns Night. That phenomenal night on the whisky calendar when people from all corners of the globe get together to eat sheep’s intestines, listen to strange Scottish warblings and dance the night away!

This year I attended my very first (aww) PROPER Burns Night. But, due to being rather swamped off my whisky-loving feet of late, I’ve had hardly any time to send out the massive thank-yous that should be given to those who made sure I was no-longer a Burns Night virgin.

So, before it gets far too belated, I must thank the chaps at The Whisky Exchange for putting on a darn good show over at Vinopolis – 200 people filled the cavernous stone hall and reveled in the fantastic musical accompaniment from License to Ceilidh, chatty banter of Simon & Franchi from Simply Whisky and whisky sponsored by the fabulous folks over at Chivas Brothers. Thanks also goes to photographer Simon Hanna for capturing it all!

The evening began with a bit of particularly good piping and a feisty cocktail of apple, cinnamon and Chivas Regal 12 to get us warmed up. Once settled in the opulent halls, we sat back and listened to (or tried to – I’m still not British enough to fully comprehend thick Scottish accents) Simon & Franchi’s energetic poem reading and speech making in honour of Mr Robbie Burns.

Then came the food and whisky! We started with a lovely Cock-a-Leekie soup, partnered with the delicious Scapa 16. I had not tried either and was delighted with the whisky. Its saltiness and citrussy hints married well with the creamy soup and was a perfect way to begin.

During more incomprehensible (though I’m sure very funny) toasts from the hosts, we moved onto the pièce de résistance…the haggis! The last time I tried this beautiful stuff had been three years ago at an event at Stirling Castle (certainly something to see). My other half (we’ll call him Mr Whisky) had never tried it (despite having loads of Scottish roots) so it was a treat all around.

The haggis was partnered with the Isle of Jura 16 – not my favourite in the Jura roster, but a nice match nonetheless with the slight smokiness and refreshing bite working well with the heavy main.

Finally, we moved on to the dessert – though by this time I was too full to take in much more. I do remember it was a suet pudding but I only managed a couple of bites, opting instead for more whisky! The Glenfiddich Rich Oak 14 year old that came with the dessert was tasty though also not my favourite Glenfiddich. The super oak whisky was a bit too sweet for my liking as well after all that heavy food.

We finished with the Talisker Distiller’s Edition – it was meant to be drunk with coffee but I didn’t want to be buzzing all night, so I stuck, instead, just to the whisky. Not that I could complain. Extra whisky? Me? Never! It was a nice, spicy coastal dram and my choice of the evening.

Then as some crazy people decided to take to the floor to dance, I sat back and enjoyed the rest of the evening watching people fling each other around to the incredible tunes of Licence to Ceilidh. I was far too full and sleepy to join in but it was a great spectacle all around!