James Eadie 2018 Releases

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If you attended Whisky Fringe recently, you’ll no doubt have come across a relatively new player to the whisky game. James Eadie released their eponymous Trade Mark ‘X’ blend a few months ago and have also recently ventured into bottling small batch and single cask whiskies. The brand was established decades ago, with the original blend being available until around the 1960s/1970s before it eventually died out. Having been brought back to life by James Eadie’s great-great-grandson, Rupert Patrick, they are now firmly establishing themselves as a bottler to be reckoned with. A little while ago they brought out six new releases, ranging from 9yo whiskies from little-known distilleries, through to a 24yo single cask from a closed grain distillery. Safe to say, this little tasting session should be fun…

Dailuaine 9yo
Small Batch
46% ABV
£42.95 here

Nose: A little spirity to begin, then there’s peardrop sweets, creamola foam, putty, warm plastic, lemon curd, raw cake mix and green stems.

Palate: Much improved, if rather simple; Dolly Mixtures, floral honey, some lemon sorbet, vanilla ice cream and cone, fresh scones.

Finish: Freshly sawn wood, vanilla essence and white pepper.

Strathmill 9yo
Single Cask
59% ABV
£44.95 here

Nose: Fresh and floral, with pine resin, gooseberries, gorse, vanilla icing, lemon sherbet and some mint.

Palate: Ooooh, quite hot with a real gingery heat, then creamy vanilla, pear skins, green apples grape skins, a little tarty fruitiness and green wood.

Finish: Vanilla, some grassy notes and wood shavings.

Inchgower 9yo
Small Batch
46% ABV
£42.95 here

Nose: Blimey! Very enticing – Jelly Tots, marshmallows, vanilla sponge cake, banana and walnut loaf, and fresh hay. Quite oily too – church candles, a little olive oil and some orange oils. There’s a little herbal earthiness in there too. Rather impressive given the age.

Palate: Fresh flowers, an old sweet shop, waxed paper, poached apples and pears, lemon bon bons, toffee, and salted caramel. There’s a nice cinnamon spice, with cask char and twigs.

Finish: Warming woodspices, with a hint of sultana cake. Undoubtedly the best of the three 9 year olds in this batch. Now, onto double digit whisky…

Caol Ila 10yo
Small Batch
46% ABV
£47.95 here

Nose: Very coastal and maritime with a lovely whiff of smoke – lobster shells, rock pools, sea spray, lime juice, salt and vinegar crisps, quite briney and some charred, smoked bacon. There’s a little bracken and gorse too, with some faint herbal and earthy things in the background.

Palate: Very clean – chocolate limes, quite floral, apple scented soap, apple chews, and a little mineralic; wet sand and slate. Then comes the woodsmoke and some sweet peat.

Finish: Aromatic peat, sweet citrus and a little crème brûlée. The sweet smoke lingers around.

Blair Athol 14yo
Single Cask
59.8% ABV
£64.95 here

Nose: Classically nutty, malty and spicy – toasted almonds, Dairy Mile Fruit & Nut bar, cherry cake, walnut praline. There’s also a bit of leather and tobacco underneath.

Palate: Danish Pastries, hazelnut, burnt raisins, leather, grilled lemon dark chocolate, some charred oak and coffee with a big woodspice backbone.

Finish: Heavy, drying oak with cinnamon and clove.

Cambus 24yo
Single Cask
54.9% ABV
£89.95 here

Nose: Really quite oaky and tannic to begin, then leather, rum soaked raisins, Black Forest gateau, unlit cigar, cacao nibs, blackberries and dried cranberries.

Palate: Very chewy, with dark treacle, Jamaica Cake, muscovado sugar, dark chocolate, nutmeg, loads of cloves, walnuts and more of those dried cranberries. There’s a savoury edge too – Branston’s Pickle, a touch of balsamic and a soy sauce dryness. Then coffee liqueurs and firm oaky notes.

Finish: Long and oaky with drying spices and black tea.

Overall: What a session that was! The Dailuaine and Strathmill are perhaps a bit on the young side, and are therefore a bit simple, but the Inchgower is punching well above its weight here. Loads of flavour for a 9 year old and for under £43 it’s brilliant value. The coastal freshness and warming smoke make for a solid Caol Ila release, whereas the thoroughly enjoyable Blair Athol provides some rather satisfying chewy, fruity, nutty, spicy notes. I feel the Cambus has been rather overwhelmed by the cask – the oak is dominant and that kinda suppresses any natural fruitiness from the spirit. Having said that, tasting whisky from a closed distillery is always a pleasure, and for under £100, this will surely sell out quite quickly. I also happened to taste a Caol Ila 10yo finished in a Palo Cortado cask at the James Eadie stand at Whisky Fringe… safe to say even more interesting releases aren’t far away.




  1. Great Whiskey neat (just room temperature whiskey in a glass) is considered by many to be the only “pure” way to drink a good whiskey. The concept is to taste the spirit as it was distilled, rather than diluting it as the distiller hadn’t intended.

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