As the newest employee of R&B Distillers, getting to see the book that contains the original Tweeddale recipes is both exciting and daunting. Alasdair (R&B’s co-founder) inherited this cellar book from his great grandfather, Richard Day, who was a blender for a small licensed grocer (much like John Walker & Sons and Chivas Brothers) in Coldstream in the Scottish Borders from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.
At the front of the book is a sales ledger, showing all the whisky and beer (they had a brewery too) that was bought and sold through the retailer in the late 1800’s. At the back of the book, are the wonderful recipes of all the different Tweeddales.
The Tweeddale was blended and sold to well-to-do country houses around the Borders, as well as hotels and pubs. I wanted to see if there were any recognisable names in the book.
From the first investigation, here are some that came up:
Smith & Sharp Glasgow: A Google search revealed that they appear to have been a grocery shop in Glasgow’s Cadogan Street. Search results included this receipt for among other things, Fowler’s Treacle, Fray Bentos Beef and Cherry Blossom Polish, click here to see this on Flickr.
The North-Eastern Railway Company: The NER was the only English railway to run trains regularly into Scotland; over the Berwick-Edinburgh main line as well as on the Tweedmouth-Kelso branch from 1854 to 1922.
George Rose of the Inverness Distillery: The Inverness distillery, or Millburn distillery, was originally a flour mill owned by George’s father, David Rose in the 1850’s (although it had been a distillery in the 1820’s, 30’s and 40’s).
David made it into a flour mill in the 1850’s and then had a change of heart in the 1870’s and converted it to a distillery, which his son George inherited. George then sold it to the Haig family (of Haig whisky fame) in the late 1800’s.
Can you add to our Tweeddale history?
There are several other names that come up in the book. James Bell of Leith, George Smith of Newcastle, Thomas Kennedy of Kelso and Joseph Pattinson. If any of those names ring a bell, and you have more information on these characters, please get in touch, we’d love to keep building the story and history of The Tweeddale.
When I saw Joseph Pattinson on the list, I made the mistake of thinking he was related to the infamous whisky fraudsters of the late 1800’s, the Pattisons, who were renowned for spending the equivalent of millions on marketing, including training 500 parrots to say Pattison Whisky slogans, and hiring private trains from Peebles to Edinburgh. I’ll keep looking to see if there are any Pattisons in the book…