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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Buchanan's Black & White

Scotch Whisky

James Buchanan & Company limited

Principle Scotch Whisky Brands

Black & White

Buchanan’s Deluxe Aged 12 years

Buchanan’s Red Seal

Buchanan’s Special Reserve Aged 18 years


James Buchanan & Co History

James Buchanan was born in Canada in 1849; the following year is parents returned to Scotland However after a short period in Scotland the young James was raised in Northern Ireland.


At the age of fifteen James Buchanan joined a Glasgow shipping firm as an office boy then went on to gain 10 years experience in his brothers grain business.


In 1879 he became a London agent for Charles Mackinlay & Co, the Leith whisky blenders.


After 5 years he had set up his own London business. His first customer was Dolamore Ltd a respected wine and cigar merchants. Initially trading in casks of whisky he was quick to see the potential for a quality blended, bottled whisky.


At the time the English did not like the pungent Highland malts or the suspect un-matured grain or blended whiskies that were flooding the London market, accordingly he developed a blend for the English palette.


By sheer hard work and determination he successfully introduced his Buchanan whisky to the top London hotels and restaurants. With its distinct black bottle with white label it became widely recognised.  


Amongst his important customers were the London music halls belonging to United Music Halls Co and the House of Commons. Always quick to see a promotional opportunity his brand became the House of Commons Whisky. This blend eventually became the Black & White Blend.


Buchanan’s continued to supply the House of Commons Bars with its named blend into the 1970’s.


The success he enjoyed in London encouraged Buchanan to appoint agents else ware in the UK, and then look overseas to expand.


First in France with success at the Paris Centennial exhibition in 1889 where the Buchanan Blend won gold. He then under took this expansion himself into Germany, Canada, The United States, New Zealand and South Africa. Eventually setting up offices in Paris and New York in 1902 with Hamburg and Buenos Aires following.


James Buchanan built the Glentauchers distillery at Mullben in 1898 and acquired two further distilleries the Lowland Bankier and the highland distillery Convalmore. He also owned the Black Swan distillery in London since 1898 however he had the property remodelled as a bottling plant.


The Campbeltown distillery Lochruan was purchased in 1919 but this was closed in 1925 by DCL.


At the start of the 1900’s the whisky industry was in turmoil, Companies crashing, mergers and acquisitions were rife and the giant Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) had been formed. Therefore to protect themselves Buchanan and Dewar’s created the Scotch whisky Brands Ltd in 1915. However this was renamed Buchanan – Dewar Ltd in 1919 and by 1922 had acquired interest in eleven distilleries

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