This first bottle of whiskey I go for in a bar is the one I’ve never tried, so when I saw an unopened bottle of Buchanan’s 12 blended Scotch whisky nestled between my old friends Chivas 18 and Glenlivet 12, I knew I had to try it. 30 minutes, a pair of pliers, and a hammer later, I finally got my drink. But more on that later.
After making my notes on register-receipt paper, I went home to see how others felt about the experience. This seems to be one of those tastes that elicit a wide range of responses, and I can understand why. At first sip, I was wholly unimpressed. A bland tea dusted with oak powder was about the extent of it. Or so I thought.
As I continued to sip on this lightly bronzed whisky, a more complex character began to develop. Dried orange and florals started appearing, then some butterscotch and gingerbread. Malted barely floats up over a hint of peat and brine on the finish.
It has a gentle, subtle (almost too subtle) entry with a fairly quick out. No lingering aftertaste to speak of. It is wholly enjoyable although not exactly exceptional. You need to pay attention to really enjoy this whisky. Take it quick or distracted and you’ll miss out on what Buchanan’s has to offer. In the end, it was worth the wait.
So why the wait? Well, after twisting off the cap, the bartender tipped the bottle to pour me my drink. . . . . . and we both waited as nothing came out of the bottle. On closer inspection, there appeared to be a plastic stopper imbedded in the neck of the bottle. After some more vigorous shaking, a few drops were splashed out, some even making it into the glass. Some fruitless poking around later, the manager was called over. More useless poking.
Then things went up a notch and the tool kit was pulled out. Pliers were pulled out and I’m not sure what ensued as I returned to my seat to await the long-coming drink. As I was sitting there, I saw the manager come back around and fish a hammer out of the tool bag! This was getting serious.
A few minutes later he returned with the bottle and some newly acquired YouTube knowledge. Yes, this is a very searchable issue! It seems some areas of the country put these flow control devices on the bottles. Not to mete out the flow, but to prevent people from putting things into the bottle, wither refilling it or cutting it with water. Sometimes the marble in the cage gets stuck, and it takes some serious effort to get it operational. For my part, I got to watch the manager smack the bottle like it was Heinz 57, with about the same amount of success. Whisky shot out in spurts (most of it in the glass) until a full dram had been poured. *whew!*
As a side note, the manager told me that Buchanan’s is extremely popular in Mexico. He has a bar south of the border and says it is a must-have staple of any whisky bar.
So I recommend a glass but hopefully you can get yours quicker than I did!
80 proof, $27/bottle