Editor’s Note: These whiskies were provided to us as review samples by Buchanan’s. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Buchanan’s is one of the most awarded Scotch whiskies on the market today. The James Buchanan Co. of Scotland was launched in 1884 by Sir James Buchanan, who was known as a highly successful businessman of his era. The enterprising Buchanan recognized there was room in the spirits industry for a new whisky that would be accessible to a wider audience, so set about creating one himself. The design of the original Buchanan’s bottle was inspired by British soldiers’ act of sharing their water canteens.
The Buchanan’s brand boasts more than 100 years of traditional skills and methods that have been perfected over centuries. These methods were approved by Buchanan himself. As stated on the packaging for these scotch whiskies, “Today Buchanan’s Deluxe Blended Scotch Whisky is established as a whisky of uncommon quality and strong tradition. Its quality is still measured according to the uncompromising standards set by Sir James Buchanan.”
Dalwhinnie single malt was the key malt used in Buchanan’s whisky back then, and still is today. Dalwhinnie, which means meeting place in Gaelic, is a reference to the site of a junction where old cattle drovers would meet on roads that lie between two mountain ranges in Scotland.
While there’s no visitor center for the James Buchanan Co. of Scotland, a stop in at the Dalwhinnie Distillery, which provides the Highland single malt so closely connected to Buchanan Whisky, is considered to be the next best thing. It’s located in the Scottish Highlands in the village of Dalwhinnie.
Buchanan’s Deluxe 12 Years and Buchanan’s Master are both blended whiskies aged for at least 12 years and bottled at 80 proof. Both were distilled, blended, and bottled in Scotland.
Buchanan’s Deluxe 12 Years Old won Gold in the Whiskeys category of the 2019 New York International Spirits Competition, Gold in the 2016 Berlin International Spirits Competition, and Silver in the 2013 and 2015 International Wine and Spirit Competition, to name a few.
Buchanan’s Master is blended with at least one type of malt from each region of Scotland. It is a personal blend by Buchanan’s Master Blender Keith Law. This expression won Silver in the 2013 and 2015 International Wine & Spirit Competition, Silver in the 2013 International Spirits Challenge, Bronze in the Whiskey category of the 2012 New York International Spirits Competition, and Gold in the Best in Class category of the 2011 International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Tasting Notes: Buchanan’s Deluxe 12 Years
Vital Stats: 80 proof (40% ABV), aged at least 12 years. A blended Scotch whisky, including Dalwhinnie malt whisky and other constituents. 750 ml bottle MSRP $35.
Appearance: Yellow gold.
Nose: This whisky has a strong medicinal scent with salty notes of dark cherries, smoky grass, and slightly nutty hints.
Palate: The palate has robust spicy pepper notes and a very peaty flavor with hints of caramel, chocolate, and rich coffee.
Tasting Notes: Buchanan’s Master Blended Scotch Whisky
Vital Stats: 80 proof (40% ABV), aged at least 12 years. A blended Scotch whisky, including Dalwhinnie malt whisky and other constituents. 750 ml bottle MSRP $46.
Appearance: Rich gold.
Nose: On the nose are soft earthy, grassy notes with slight hints of orange citrus and honeydew along with a delicious sweet and spicy aromas.
Palate: The palate offers a malty and smooth low burn level with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and burnt orange peel accompanied by clean earthy, woody notes.
Final Thoughts: I found Buchanan’s Deluxe 12 Years to be a little too medicinal on both the nose and palate. The medium finish has spicy notes of cinnamon and pepper that cling sharply to the palate. I would have preferred the other flavors I sussed out to be more prominent than the medicinal notes. A little ice provided a more balanced flavor that was more approachable than sipping neat.
The Buchanan’s Master Blended Scotch Whisky provides a nice medium to long finish with unexpected notes of spearmint on the back end. It has a nice spicy and sweet burn on the palate that lingers exceptionally with an inviting and harmonious depth of flavor.