The bottle: Buchanan’s Select 15-Year-Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, $49.99
The back story: Scotch brands like Johnnie Walker and Dewar’s are familiar to most sippers, but what about Buchanan’s? In some ways, it’s a global powerhouse, a brand that’s among the 10 biggest in the world, according to the IWSR Report, an industry survey. And it has posted some big sales spikes in the U.S. in recent years — in 2015, it gained more than 20%, according to Diageo, the spirits giant behind the brand.
But in other ways, Buchanan’s is barely known — outside one very select market, that is. The brand, whose history goes back to 1884 when it was established by one James Buchanan, has been promoted mainly to Hispanic drinkers, both in the U.S. and beyond. Since 2016, the brand has marketed the spirit with its “Es Nuestro Momento” campaign, spotlighting the Latino community and its contributions to American culture. The brand also has an ongoing promotional partnership with reggaeton artist J. Balvin. It has even taken to airing a Spanish ad during the World Series.
What’s behind the focus? In general, booze brands are increasingly marketing to various racial, cultural and religious groups as a way to grow their business. There’s even a Whisky Jewbilee event in New York in which several brands court Jewish customers.
Of course, Buchanan’s isn’t just about marketing. It’s also about what’s in the bottle. In that regard, its latest offering represents what the brand calls a “distinctive” approach. It’s a blended Scotch, but in this case, a blended malt Scotch. Typically, blends include some grain whisky as well. Apparently, the release is already winning fans: The whisky was awarded a gold medal at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
What we think about it: Whereas single-malt Scotches are often marked by their highly individual tastes and other characteristics, blends tend to even out the edges, so to speak. This all-malt blend is about as approachable as a whiskey gets — slightly sweet, slightly oak-y and altogether mellow. Perhaps too mellow, one might argue, in that it lacks a certain spicy kick. But there’s no denying the easy pleasure it brings.
How to enjoy it: This whisky is made for sipping neat or on ice, the brand says.
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