‘X’ Whisky marks the spot for a historic dram
Rupert Patrick, great-great-grandson of James Eadie, is responsible for the resurrection of a whisky brand his ancestor established more than a century and a half ago. At that time a large St. Andrews Cross was depicted on the label, in reference to the street where drinks merchant Eadie founded his shop in 1854 — Cross Road in Burton-on-Trent. At first, he concentrated on brewing India Pale Ale. In 1877 Eadie registered Trademark “X” — one of the first trademarks ever in in the history of Scotch whisky.
Eadie’s beer and wine were very successful and he could count many celebrities among his customers, notably the great Victorian drinks writer Alfred Barnard. The latter also enjoyed brand "X" whisky, referring to it as “a wee drappie” offered by Mr. Eadie to a select group of customers.
Eadie was the prototype of a successful business man in the late Victorian era. He co-owned roughly 60 pubs in the area of Middlesbrough. All these pubs were allowed to tap any beer, as long as it was brewed by Eadie. Of course, they were supposed to pour Mark “X” too.
When Eadie returned to Scotland in 1897 to purchase Glenrinnes Estate he belonged to the landed gentry. He passed away in 1904. About 1930 the brewery was taken over by Bass; Eadie’s Old Special Whisky was re-baptized as Gleneagles Blend, pointing to Eadie’s original birthplace. In the 1960s the brand disappeared from the market, as with so many blended whiskies.
A few bottles of “X” however remained unopened and eventually were inherited by Rupert Patrick. He scrutinized the old ledgers of his esteemed great-great-grandpa and managed to distill (pun intended) the old recipe from the procurement and purchase figures. Then he set to recreating Eadie’s old brand “X.”
Rupert is not a stranger in the world of whisky. Since 1993 he has been working in the industry for various employers, among which are MacLeod Distillers, Beam Suntory and Diageo. He is a Keeper of the Quaich and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers. Proud of his heritage, he started his own independent bottling company in 2016 and now presents beautiful single cask single malt whiskies from stock he purchases directly from distilleries. But, of course, his flagship is Trade Mark “X” a tribute to that Victorian ancestor who established a delicious beer, a distinguished blended whisky and a large network of pubs in England.
Master Blender Norman Mathison, with 40 years of whisky making experience under his belt, is responsible for the composition of the current version of the blend, described by connoisseurs as elegant and lightly peated. “X” is a contemporary salute to the art of blending in the Golden Age of Scotch Whisky.
When Rupert Patrick recently conducted a tour through the Netherlands with importer Ivar Wittebrood of High Spirits Co., he also visited Zwolle. Together we sampled the goods in our favorite liquor store, owned by our dear friend Eric Bartels, fourth generation owner of one of the best whisky specialty shops in the country. You can imagine both great-great-grandsons enjoying the product as well as the surroundings. We were offered a dram too and concur — elegant, with a whiff of smoke. Rupert offered us a full bottle of the craythur, an offer we could not refuse. It came back with us to the USA, mid-December last year. Shortly we will sample the goods with a chosen few, somewhere in the Holy City ...
The Whisky Couple