Photograph: Magnus

Black and White Scotch Whisky

James Buchanan began his whisky career in 1879 as a London agent, but it didn’t take long for this savvy businessman to venture out on his own. He soon produced Buchanan Blend which became relied upon by many for its consistency and quality. It was marketed in a black bottle with a white label and customers simply started referring to Buchanan Blend as “that black and white whisky”. Before the name of the blend was officially changed, another name was introduced. James won a contract to supply the House of Commons with whisky, hence the short-lived, new name of Buchanan’s House of Commons Scotch Whisky.

Although the name of the whisky had changed, it was still in a black bottle, it still portrayed the simple white label and customers still asked for the “black and white whisky”. Buchanan – an animal lover – added the black Scottish terrier and the West Highland white terrier to the label and it was adopted as the brand’s motif. It is still used today and is one of the world’s most famous trademarks. Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky was first produced in 1884. It contains 60-65 percent grain whiskies including Port Dundas and Cameronbridge.

James Buchanan had earned his place among the most important people in the world of whisky – Dewar and Walker. Buchanan and Dewar merged companies in 1915. The following year, they became part of Distillers Company Limited (DCL) which had then become United Distillers & Vinters in 1987. The brand is now owned by Diageo.

About the distillery

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