Taking time to do things properly was just his way. And fortunately, his approach to making Scotch whisky was no different.
Born and raised near Gleneagles, Scotland, he had brewing and distilling in his blood: it was the family business.
So when the enterprising young James moved to Burton-on-Trent to set up his own brewery in 1854, he continued to blend Scotch in the same way that the Eadies had always done.
An extraordinary blend requires only three things: Exceptional whiskies, carefully selected wood, and years of expertise. But not one of these can be substituted. Nor can they be rushed. Because the art of blending, like whisky itself, improves with age.
Some years later, on May 16 1877, James Eadie took advantage of the new Trade Mark Registration Act to register a simple, yet bold, logo.
Under this icon, his most traditional of Scotch whiskies became one of the world’s first trademarks: James Eadie’s Trade Mark ‘X’.
What had been a little-known local drink grew into the global phenomenon of today. According to The Wine Trade Review, by 1877:
“...little Highland whisky is now consumed as distilled. The public find blends so much better balanced and palatable...”
For decades thereafter, Trade Mark ‘X’ – the same ‘wee drappie’, ‘dispensed to a favoured few’ by Mr. Eadie, which so captivated Alfred Barnard – was famous throughout the British Isles. But, like many great names from the Victorian era, it did not survive into the 21st Century.
Luckily for us, a few bottles did. So, too, do his ledgers, where he listed every purchase of whisky in minute detail. And they revealed a forgotten blend made from today’s most sought-after malts and grains.
In recreating Trade Mark ‘X’, only whiskies form distilleries which he personally bought from have been included in this blend – including some which have long ceased production.
As he specified, these whiskies were matured in either American oak or sherry wood.
Finally, we invited veteran Master Blender Norman Mathison to use his four decades’ worth of expertise to bring Mr. Eadie’s whisky back to life.
The result is an elegant, peaty dram, which offers a rare glimpse into the art of blending from the first Golden Age of Scotch whisky.
After a lengthy slumber, Trade Mark ‘X’ has been revived at last. We now invite you to savour this heritage blend – and join the ‘favoured few’.