40% of Scottish inmates drank Buckie, a caffeinated wine made by monks, before they got arrested

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/02/26/40-of-scottish-inmates-drank-buckie-a-caffeinated-wine-made-by-monks-before-they-got-arrested.html


You really don’t want to.

At least, I tried it once at an illegal rave in Edinburgh and never want to try it again.


Sounds like Four Loko to me, which is something I tried once and never again.


And what percentage drank Irn-Bru?


Can you describe for us, to the best of your ability, any effects you can remember?


That’s what I thought, I wonder how it compares. Caffeine and alcohol are not friends, kiddos.


It was 20 years ago, and I don’t remember it much now. The party felt like it was over too quickly, but it had been all night.

is a fairly accurate description of the taste, except it was less pleasant.


Study: I asked my 5 buddies in prison if they ever drank the stuff and two of them said yes.


Buckie’s what you buy at 6AM under the counter from the papershop when you’ve run out of drugs.


I have a couple bottles of this in my liquor cabinet. It’s a bit of a gag as my sister in law is from Scotland.

Overall taste is herbal with a main taste of cloves. Very sweet. Cough syrup comparisons aren’t too far off, though I don’t really think it tastes medicinal. No bartender I’ve done shots with wanted more, but the story of it is great.

There are two versions, the Buckfast Monastery is in England and their version is lower caffeine. A higher caffeine version is made for Scotland and I believe also Ireland (that’s were I bought much of mine). It’s cheap, but I don’t know of anyone that imports it.


I have a bottle around for laughs. Big moral panic about the stuff about a decade back, heavily covered on Boing Boing. I think it was the Daily Fail that repeatedly reported a Satanist connection.

So I had a cousin in Ireland bring me over a few bottles.

It tastes like stale Coca Cola syrup that some one dumped 12 cigarettes in. Makes you shake something awful as well. And that’s the slightly lower ABV Irish market version. Purportedly has more caffeine than Redbull and I have no idea what the fuck else is in it.

The bottle I currently have is purely for Satanic Ritual use. I have no need to ever drink it again.


Pah! The combination of caffeine and alcohol was invented in Ireland and perfected in San Francisco. This Mad Dog fruit soda shit just makes me sad.


It was popular among Dublin motorcycle couriers during the '90s.

I never knew until just now that is was heavily caffeinated but it was said at the time that it had a similar effect to speed, which was another popular drug among couriers.

I never partook of it, nor to the drunk driving, cop baiting, all weekend every weekend partying that accompanied it but I had a vicarious awe and admiration for the sheer abandon of my colleagues who did.

They’d work during the week taking wiz to stay focused with some cannabis to take the edge off and at the weekends they’d go wild, taking off to bike races or motorcycle rallies in Ireland, the UK and occasionally the continent.

It was truly worthy of a Hunter S Thompson book.


That’s what I was thinking, this is some sort of NoDoz/MD20-20 concoction.


Doesn’t sound like an apples to apples comparison. What overall percentage of the Scottish population has drunk “some quantity” of Buckie in the past? Pretty sure it’s going to be more than the implied half a percent.

I can speak with some authority on this topic - but I won’t, beyond observing that Buckfast was the drink of choice for those nights when you were too under-the-weather to party, because its “medicinal” effects genuinely did get you through (and even on occasion cure a headcold or whatever, albeit at the cost of a monstrous hangover). This guy’s thoughts are pretty accurate:

The popularity of Buckfast then led to a temporary and woeful interest in Thunderbird in my hometown and home era, which… no. Just no.


Aye, pretty much any combination of alcohol and stimulant, whether it be coke (Coca-Cola or cocaine), amphetamine, Red Bull or coffee gives you both the take-on-the world invincibility illusorily summoned by booze and the ansty-aggression caused by the waker-upper.

Really, really not great.


I’m reasonably sure that the connection is that Buckie is the single cheapest high ABV alcohol product in the British Isles.

It’s 15% abv, loaded with caffeine and other junk that magnifies the effect. All for like 6 pounds. IIRC it had originally been much cheaper as it skated around certain alcohol taxes by virtue of being an unpalatable health tonic made by monks.

Poverty is associated with crime and imprisonment. And poor folk are more interested in this sort of bang for your buck hooch.

I’m sure it doesn’t help that a single sip turns you into a Satanist.


My reading is that it’s not that they drank some at some point in their lives, it’s that they drank it shortly before they committed the offence that got them imprisoned.

Therefore possibly showing that drinking Bucky is doubly unwise in that it makes you more likely to commit an offense and that it makes you more likely to do it in a way that gets you caught.

Or alternatively that people who regularly drink Buckfast are people who through a combination of reasons have poor decision making and impulse control while lacking the funds for decent scotch.


Agreed, and might I add sugar to that list. Nothing good ever came from more than a little bit of that combo.

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