Buckie is what Tracy Meikle was drinking when she stabbed a woman to death, a crime she was jailed for last week. It's the sickly sweet scent I remember on the breath of every angry man in my life before he raised his hand. It's the poisonous green bottles smashed all over the streets of the estate I played on – the evil emeralds I picked out of my knees.It's just a drink. Like a gun is just a tool.
Buckie is a dark brown "tonic wine" brewed by Benedictine monks in Devon. Their recipe is secret but basically it's wine jacked up with chemicals and some of the condensed rage from 28 Days Later.Really? I mean, is that on the label? If so, I think the ASA might want to have a word...
And is it really that strong? Well, no. As Leg-Iron pointed out, it's the caffeine that is the target of the ire:
…Buckie is only about 15% alcohol. But the alcohol content isn't the problem. It's not the strongest or (at about £7 a bottle) the cheapest. But it is the most lethal. Each bottle contains around eight times the caffeine of a can of coke. Drop-for-drop, it has got more caffeine than Red Bull. It doesn't get you drunk: it gets you high.*nonplussed*
The monks, who just bought a new roof for one of their idyllic abbey's guest houses, have thoughtfully added this caution: "The name 'tonic wine' does not imply health-giving or medicinal properties." But in 1976 my pregnant mum was actually prescribed Buckie by her doctor. He told her: "It'll build you up." Luckily for me, floating inside her at the time, she declined his advice.Go back far enough, you can find doctors who'd recommend smoking for dieting, or ingesting tapeworms. So what?
Yes, people choose to drink it, but …Ah. No 'but' needed there.
The monks get a royalty for every bottle and last year made more than £6m. Their Abbot, David Charlesworth, claims to be upset by the Buckfast Triangle. "I don't want Buckfast Abbey to be associated with broken bottles and drunks," he says. "But is the product bad? No."
That's like Kalashnikov feeling sad about the way his rifles are used. It is unholy water.No. It's just a drink.