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Buchanan’s Special Red Seal (1865)

Posted by Old liquor company

15 May, 2020

Buchanan’s Special Red Seal (1865)


This exceptional and rare Single Malt dates from the last decade of the 19th century. According to the label on the reverse side this whisky was approved by the Analytical Laboratory at Burgeons Hall, Edinburgh on 21-02-1891 by Stevenson Macadam, Ph.O. & C. He declared: 'I have to certify that I have made a carefull chemical analysis of a sample of this Scotch Whisky and the results compare most favourably with those obtained from the best Scotch and Irish Malt Whiskies and prove that the said Whisky has been carefully disilled, has been thoroughly matured and is practically free from fusil oil or other noxious ingredients. It has apparently been aged in a sherry cask, has acquired a full ethereal aroma and is in all respects a first-class and agreeable beverage".

Stevenson Macadam (1829-1901) was a Professor of Chemistry in Edinburgh and certainly knew what he was talking about. Red Seal was said to have been created in 1901 in order to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII but this bottle is proving otherwise. Buchanan's Special Red Seal Malt Whisky was around in 1891, and perhaps a few years earlier, but re-releaed in 1901 to honour the new King, undoubtly thanks to the Royal Warrant which was awarded in 1898. The glass bottle itself is a three-piece molded bottle which has been produced between 1890 and 1910.

James Buchanan, born in Canada as son of Scottish immigrants, returned to the United Kingdom shortly after he was born and he was brought up in Larne. He joined a Glasgow shipping firm as an office boy when he was around 15 years of age, later promoted to be a clerk. In 1868 he joined his brother in the grain business until 1879, when he moved to London as an agent for a company in the whisky trade. He realized that there was an untapped market in England for bottled Scotch whisky and set about producing his own, the Buchanan Blend. He went into business on his own in 1884 as James Buchanan & Co. In 1898, James Buchanan was given the Royal Warrant to supply the Royal Household with Buchanan's Whisky. The company joined Distillers Company in 1925. Distillers Company was acquired by Guinness in 1986 whilst Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo in 1997.

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