An Evening of Bards and Bagpipes


TORONTO — If the old boozy bard Robert Burns was right, and freedom and whisky do indeed gang together, then it was a liberated lot that gathered at Toronto hotspot, Dolce Social Ballroom last night.

Planned to celebrate the annual nod to Scotland’s national poet, and to raise much needed funds for the Hatian relief effort, the event hosted by Glenfiddich, was a unique blend of tradition and modern flair, even if the elixir in the glass was decidedly single malt.

Featuring samplings of 12- and 15-year-old offerings, the ’Fiddich brass paired its Scotch selections with an array of passed apps, as guests mingled and stomped to live music by the bagpipe-driven rock quintet aptly named Enter the Haggis.

The early revelry led up to the most sacred of all Robbie Burns day traditions: the haggis itself.
As guests were dutifully handed a wee dram of Glenfiddich’s 18-year-old single malt, the famous Scottish delicacy was piped in, and a kilted orator ceremoniously addressed the often derided dish, making his all-important first cut with a flourish of classic Burns verse:

“Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!”

While steeped in the expected traditional elements, Lindsay Prociw, senior brand manager, William Grant & Sons, PMA Canada says the event was designed to introduce the famous Scotch whisky to a younger demographic. Noting that it can be difficult to convert people from fruiter vodka- or gin-based drinks to the depth and complexity of single malt whisky, she was quick to explain that the brand is, nonetheless committed to being that first point of contact, while staying true to its history and traditional customer base.

Fortunately for Prociw, promoting a deep, smoky 18-year-old single malt among Toronto’s hipster set will likely be an easier sell going forward than the texturally challenging haggis; with or without Burns’ immortal ode. (Though they can gang together)


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