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Issue 136 - Ask the Expert

Whisky Magazine Issue 136
June 2016


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Ask the Expert

Send your questions to or by post to: Q&A, Whisky Magazine, St Faiths House, Mountergate, Norwich, England, NR1 1PY

I wanted to ask about a very old bottle of Buchanan's Red Seal. The bottom of the label states ‘Glentauchers-Glenlivet Distillery, Mulben, Speyside'. The bottle has been kept in the family and came from my great grandfather's pub, The Ship & Bell in Horndean, Hampshire where he was the proprietor. The pub was formally joined to the Gales Ale Brewery. Ideally, I'd like to try and date the bottle, but any historical information would be greatly appreciated.
C. Field

Recognising the age of this impressive bottle, I took your photos directly to the knowledgeable and helpful archivist at Diageo for information, as they are custodians of the Buchanan brand. They told me that they have identified this bottle as an original bottling of Buchanan's Red Seal, a blended Scotch whisky, which was launched around 1904 and available until 1920. The Diageo archive has a few examples of this bottle and some half-bottles within their collection. The blend evolved out of the very first Buchanan's whisky, The Buchanan Blend, and it was positioned as the standard blend within the Buchanan's range. Black & White was the more premium blend of that era. Your bottle is the brand on which the modern Buchanan's Red Seal (launched 2005) is based, however, the whiskies themselves are quite different, with the modern Buchanan's Red Seal being influenced by Buchanan's Royal Household and featuring older and rarer malts.

James Buchanan and W.P. Lowrie (Buchanan's bulk blender in the early days of his bu...

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