Dewar’s Highlander Honey ad criticised for Claire Forlani’s poor Scottish accent

7th June, 2013 by Becky Paskin

Bacardi’s advert for its new Dewar’s Highlander Honey has drawn criticism from viewers questioning English actress Claire Forlani’s Scottish accent.

Dewar's Highlander Honey Claire Forlani

Claire Forlani adds some bite to Dewar’s Highlander Honey’s first commercial

The third US commercial from Dewar’s featuring the Meet Joe Black actress, who is married to Scottish actor Dougray Scott, the advert conveys the brand’s new Highlander Honey drink as “sweetness with bite”.

Forlani’s character is described by ad agency Opperman Weiss as a “siren with the presence of a queen and the mouth of a gangster”.

In it, the English-Italian actress allows a bee to sting her finger before stirring her glass of Highlander Honey with it, declaring “You should be asking yourself: what is sweetness without a little bite,” in an attempt at a Scottish accent. She then turns over her shoulder and warns “Be careful Angus” to an off-screen presence before throwing her head back and laughing.

However viewers of the commercial, which is only airing in the US, have been quick to criticise her accent as “painful”.

“Bad accent and terrible adverts!!” wrote one viewer on the Daily Mail website. “Why does it have a Spanish/Italian vibe to it? Shouldn’t it be Scottish?” wrote another on Reddit.

Opperman Weiss explained her character as having: “A strong, commanding grip over the edgy, underground world and exudes her power through her piercing attitude, cutting tongue and entrancing beauty. She draws the viewer in from the moment she is seen, enticing men and pulling them into her clandestine world.”

The criticism is another blow for Bacardi that has been beleaguered with calls to amend its labelling to adhere to Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) regulations. The Highlander Honey label refers to the drink as a “blended Scotch whisky infused with natural flavors,” although the SWA does not permit the addition of flavouring to Scotch.

“We have concerns that the labelling and promotion of Dewar’s Highlander Honey could distinguish the product more clearly from Scotch whisky,” a spokesperson for the SWA said.

Is her Scottish accent spot on? What do you think? Watch the commercial and leave a comment below.

34 Responses to “Dewar’s Highlander Honey ad criticised for Claire Forlani’s poor Scottish accent”

  1. ricey says:

    I could not detect a single facet of a Scots accent.
    Are you sure she’s meant to be Scottish?
    She sounds so sexy that I don’t care what accent she’s supposed to be speaking in.
    Then again, when I last heard Dougray Scott on TV he sounded more “luvvy” home counties English than Scots so coaching her from home would’ve done no good whatsoever anyway.
    Really bad ad tho’ – straight from somewhere in the 1970’s.

  2. FrankieNapp says:

    She is absolutely amazing! Anyone that actually listens to her…….is a moron! Spend the 2 minutes LOOKING……..not listening. Claire Forlani is the very definition of sexy!

  3. mark says:

    I want to spontaneously combust every time I see this commercial.. There is ZERO sexy about it and honestly I wish it had of been a tarantula hawk instead of a tickle bee that landed on her finger. I could care less what accent she has – this is one of the worst pieces of marketing I have ever seen (and no, I am not homosexual – quite the opposite)..

    The mazda skyactive commercials are next.. Jeez what are these companies thinking???

  4. Buster Gee says:

    Hot woman absolutely stupid commercial

  5. Ashley says:

    Her accent is abysmal. I just saw the commercial on TV and was like who is doing that awful voice over, and realized she was doing both the on camera and VO. How can this pass these days? There are too many actors who are actually talented enough to do a great Scottish accent. Ugh, Dewars, I now look on you with disdain.

    • patrick says:

      your that much of a loser to not like a company for a commercial you know how stupid you sound…I think your jealous,shes a beautiful woman and your most likely are not and never was ..grow up

      • AJ says:

        That’s pretty harsh. How does criticizing someone’s fake accent make her an ugly woman? She’s not making a jab at you, so what’s with the personal insult?

  6. Pat says:

    I love her in this commercial, she reminds me of a blythe spirit floating about. I’ve heard a lot worse accents in my 55 years, and I trust I will hear a lot more before I die. She does a wonderful job at being sexy in this ad campaign.

  7. badvibesdude says:

    Her Scottish accent is like Hugh Laurie’s American accent. It’s a little stodgy and deliberate for those who know the natural sound of a native speaker, but it’s not that bad. The ads are meant for the US anyway and most people in the US probably can’t tell the difference between even the major UK accents.

    Frankly, I find the ad man’s verbose, bullshit rambling about the depth of the character they envisioned for a booze shill (as well as the obscene amount of money spent to create and execute this campaign) far more offensive than her accent.

  8. steve says:

    Fake accent for fake Scotch.

  9. Neil says:

    I was waiting for “Och aye the noo Angus” I wouldn’t kick her out of bed though.

  10. Jerry Kempenski says:

    I usually drink Glenmorange; I bought Dewar’s for the 1st time! Enough said!

  11. Jeff says:

    Who is it that cares about her having or not having a Scottish accent? Why? I am sure Dewers did not have the good people of Scotland in mind as the target audience for this ad. Dewers is a global brand trying to sell as much of their product to as big an audience as they can. I’m sure no one in China or South America or the US or pretty much anyone outside of Scotland will notice nor care about Claire Forlani’s accent. I don’t. It would be like the people at Makers Mark trying to find a model with a Kentucky accent.

  12. Jack says:

    I love Claire Forlani, but I would prefer to see and hear a Scottish actress (I think Scotland produced some good, and good looking, and speaking with original Scottish accent actresses).
    It’s a fake Whisky (according to SWA), but the original Scot in the commercial would make it more plausible.

  13. GarryMcK says:

    Ugh!!! As a Scot and recent US citizen this ad makes me choke. Abysmal accent, poor attitude (what on earth is she portraying really?!!). Dewar’s has suffered in branding due to this advert. Makes me and my Scots mates cringe when we see and hear this rubbish.

    • Jeff says:

      Again, sorry, but I am sure you and your Scots mates are not the target audience of this ad. How many of you and your Scots mates do you think there are in the world? I’ll bet their target audience doesn’t even speak English. I speak English, am Scotch by decent (3rd gen. American) and all I see and hear is a beautiful , sexy, strong woman who knows what she wants. From now on I’m drinking Dewers!

  14. Gary Prater says:

    I think her accent sounds fine. It doesn’t sound Scottish at all, sounds like an Italian woman speaking in English! I don’t get it. She has classic beauty, the commercial has a classic look to it and I the hew of honey glaze makes it more enticing. I don’t get why anyone would hate on her. It looks fine to me. People always always always want to bash someone else’s work. HATERS gonna HATE!

  15. Braveheart says:

    I am a Scot living in the USA, the accent is not even close, it makes Mel Gibson sound Scottish by comparison. Major Fail

  16. Jim W says:

    While most of the comments I’m reading seem to debate her beauty and fake accent; I can’t over the character being portrayed in this series of commercials. She is off the hook scary and crazy IMO as in boil your pet rabbit in a pot crazy…

  17. GoManVanGogh says:

    Accent is fake, and her sexy is put on. Famous Grouse is preferred, and the Highland Honey is sugared. Bacardi should NOT be permitted to call is Scotch.

  18. CajunEdAtl says:

    It’s bad enough that she’s a “mallrat” with a crap accent, but who is “angus” and what’s his tie to dewars? She’s psycho, drunk, and unappealing. She and Jeremy London should so a washed up liquor commercial. It would make more since, especially if it showed mug shots.

  19. GarryMcK says:


    You’re showing the American dilution of your heritage by calling yourself “Scotch”. We are Scots…Scotch is a drink by ra way…!! Anyhow, glad at least one (diluted) generation of Scots enjoys this awful advert. The point is, 1st generation Scots take exception to the awful portrayal and dismal accent. She’s a honey, yes, but a sneering one that I’d run 500 miles from…

  20. Bababooey says:

    Is this a fall from grace for Claire Forlani? From movie to tv ads? Its not like shes been in good movies lately where the ad is a play on her recent popularity. Its more like she went from Meet Joe Black 10 years later to booze ads. Kinda like Stephen Dorff and those annoying e-cig ads

  21. TheLatin says:

    I do not care how she speaks or her accent. Turn the TV into mute and she will still turn you on

  22. McPherson Chicago says:

    What a joke! Bacardi executives are just plain wrong in so many ways. I ain’t buying it.

  23. MoronsAplenty says:

    You people complaining about this commercial (IF you are serious) are effing dumb beyond belief. Really….all the crap that is effed up in these united states and you are worried about 3 words on a Dewar’s ad? THIS is whats wrong with the world. Buncha effing morons.

  24. Can’t stand this commercial. I need to turn the channel every time I see it. She is a horrible actress with no talent at all. First time I saw it I thought it was a Saturday Night Live skit. Please Stop running this ad!

  25. Erick says:

    I love this commercial, she’s sexy in it. Her accent is seductive, but if it’s supposed to sound Scottish I can’t really be a critic on that because I don’t know what it’s supposed to sound like, I just know I like the accent.

  26. moronsafew says:

    Perhaps she is portraying an English woman who relocated to Scotland a few years ago and has a BLENDED accent. On the other hand, this company is based in Coral Gables, Florida so who cares how Scottish there commercials are?
    What is this about things being effed up in the USA? Things here are fairly stable…unless of course you are watching Fox News! Buncha drama queens over there can certainly make you feel that way with all the BS they run 24hrs a day. USA is A-OK! Quit worrying, keep walking and eventually you’ll get past the worries that are hanging over your head. You’re in a valley right now and there are lessons to be learned, so get to it and start climbing out of the valley.

  27. kinpatsu616 says:

    Claire Forlani is beautiful–but completely miscast. This is an total advertising bomb due to the advert’s (or “commercial” as we say over here on the west side of The Pond) muddled message. And some of us Americans CAN, in fact, recognize the difference among several of the UK’s accents. Her pseudo-Scottish accent is AWFUL–and I’m pretty sure it veers into pseudo-Irish at the end of the whole debacle.

    And for the record, I’m a Laphroaig gal. 🙂

  28. SepticTank says:

    Morons – pot, kettle, black. Get a clue buddy. This is supposed to be an advert for Scotch drinkers and it’s just awful. The first time I saw it I thought it was a joke. It looks like a bad SNL skit. What does this have to do with what’s wrong in the world? The article above asked for opinion and we’re giving them. All the things wrong in the world….and you’re wasting your time on here to call people morons.

    And yes the accent is terrible. This coming from an American with Scottish parents. You’d think her husband would have the heart to tell her.

  29. Daniela says:

    I’m an Italian-American born in Italy and I don’t know much about Scottish accents but I do know that there has to be more than one–different counties in Ireland have different accents; likewise, in the U.S., ask a linguistic expert to give you a “Southern” accent, and he’ll ask you, “which one?” Louisiana is different from Atlanta, which is different from Memphis, etc. I think if you’re going to say Claire Forlani’s Scottish accent is so poor, you should at least expand on such an attack accordingly. Nevertheless, I’m a woman and even I agree with some of the gentlemen above who basically said why the hell do you even care what she sounds like–she’s an incredibly sexy woman–hold your ears, have a friggin drink and just look at her, damn it!

  30. jeaglesh says:

    Sounds like a mixture of Morningside.Drumchapel and perhaps Whitburn, but then I am more of a Glenlivet man. Claire Forlani is clearly Gillian Anderson much sexier sister.

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