J & B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky

How To Drink J& b Rare

Justerini & Brooks – J& B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky Review

Were staunch believers that you should drink something the way you enjoy it. While Scotch whisky drinking is prone to many rules and dogma, we feel that it should all be discarded if its not how you like it. Nevertheless, if you need a few ideas for J& B Rare, we can happily provide some suggestions.

Firstly, its certainly drinkable neat with a Glencairn glass or similar. However, you may find it a little rough. In that case, add a bit of water until its smooth enough. Alternatively, chilling a drink with ice or in the fridge can take away its alcohol bloom.

Otherwise, J& B is ideal for a Whisky Sour or even a Scotch & Soda. You can also consider other cocktails such as a Rob Roy!

Whisky Review: J& b Rare Scotch Whisky

Weve been doing a deep-dive into the whiskey of the 60s exploring a time period when the industry was just starting to regain its glory after years of prohibition. Today were checking out J& B Rare, a scotch with a long history that saw a surge in popularity during the mid-20th century.


The Whiskey Rocks Verdict

Is it good?

J& B Scotch is a great value blend, and you will find this green-bottled whiskey with yellow labeling just about anywhere that alcohol is legal.

This Scotch is for you if youre looking for a good blended whiskey with a bit more smoke and malt character. Even thoughJ& B Scotch is without bitterness or any specific bite, the nutty aftertaste might not be for everyone.

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The Foundations Of J& b Rare

William Cole and Thomas Walker may not have been so interested in the sourcing of their scotch whisky as they were Bordeaux wines but they hit lucky as their supplier was J.G. Thomson & Co., then Scotland’s leading wine merchant. It’s likely that the wines Justerini and Brooks shipped directly from France had for years passed through J.G. Thomson’s vaults in Edinburgh, hence there was a long-established relationship between the London and Edinburgh companies.

J.G. Thomson was named after James Gibson Thomson who, in 1875 brought three partners into his firm: James Anderson and brothers, John and Andrew Usher. Tellingly, Andrew Usher later become known as the “Father of Blended Whisky” due to his being the first person to commercially blend malt and grain whisky . In 1876, a year after bringing the three partners into his firm, James Anderson became the senior partner.

Andrew Usher not only used grain whisky to mellow malt whiskies in his blends, but he tended to use Speyside malt whiskies due to their being lighter in style. So, the whisky re-labelled Justerini & Brooks was mellow and light. This whisky, blended by Usher and supplied to Justerini & Brooks by J.G. Thomson, became known as Justerini and Brooks ‘Club’ whisky. The light style of this ‘Club’ whisky would later influence the creation of J& B Rare.

Johnson Hands Over To Brooks

J& B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky 1.0L (40 % Vol.)

The Napoleonic Wars over, Britain was in a period of calm, but this would be upset by the industrial revolution. Mechanical innovations brought dramatic change to all industries and Aeneas Coffey’s invention of the continuous column or patent still dramatically impacted the whisky industry.

Up till this point, Scotch whisky was exclusively what we now call “single malt whisky” but these malts were crude compared to whiskies today and they tended to be marketed to the military while the gentry sipped on imported brandy, port, sherry, madeira and wine. The new Coffey stills were not only more efficient and produced much larger quantities of spirit than the traditional pot stills but the grain whisky the Coffey stills made was much lighter in style. Recognising this, Andrew Usher revolutionised the whisky industry by blending pot-distilled malt whisky and Coffey-distilled grain whisky to produce the first blended whiskies.

In the story of Justerini & Brooks and its J& B whisky, 1831 is a key year. This was not only when Aeneas Coffey invented the still that made the production of J& B whisky possible but, 82 years after his grandfather had founded the company with Giacomo Justerini, Augustus Johnson II retired and sold his family’s firm to Alfred Brooks. Brooks was a Bordeaux and Burgundy oenophile who changed the company’s name to Justerini & Brooks.

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How To Drink J& b Scotch

J& B Scotch is a smooth spirit that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails, thanks to its buttery and nutty flavor. When taken neat, the flavors are interesting, so much so that youll keep wanting to come back to the well.

J& B Scotch is a little too sharp to drink neat but works excellent on the rocks. With the addition of some chilled whiskey stones, the drink opens up, and you can taste even the more subtle notes.

J& B Scotch is perfect for mixed drinks and cocktails. However, you need to be careful not to add too much of the mixers theyll overpower the whiskey, and therell be no alcohol flavor beyond the mixer.

J& b Rare Blended Scotch

The blending of whiskies is a practise aim at creating a product of broad appeal.

It was for this purpose that Justerni & Brooks developed their now famous J& B

Rare for the American market.

its genre which remains one of the biggest selling whiskies on the American market.

Over 40 different malt and grain whiskies are mature and then married together

for an unusually long time. Distilled, blended & bottled in Scotland.

The blending of whiskies is a practise aim at creating a product of broad appeal.

It was for this purpose that Justerni & Brooks developed their now famous J& B

Rare for the American market.

its genre which remains one of the biggest selling whiskies on the American market.

Over 40 different malt and grain whiskies are mature and then married together

for an unusually long time. Distilled, blended & bottled in Scotland.

The blending of whiskies is a practise aim at creating a product of broad appeal.

It was for this purpose that Justerni & Brooks developed their now famous J& B

Rare for the American market.

its genre which remains one of the biggest selling whiskies on the American market.

Over 40 different malt and grain whiskies are mature and then married together

for an unusually long time. Distilled, blended & bottled in Scotland.

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J& b Rare Blended Scotch Whisky

  • One 750 mL bottle of J& B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Blended with some of the finest grain whiskies Scotland has to offer
  • Fruity notes and smooth character
  • Light-colored with a smooth and complex flavor

Rare Blended Scotch Whisky

Sip the smooth and complex flavor of J& B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky. At the heart of J& B Rare are malt whiskies from Speyside, a region recognized as the superior area in Scotland for making single malt whisky. With a fruity, fresh quality to its taste, this is what also gives J& B its light color. Added to that are some of the finest grain whiskies Scotland has to offer, helping reveal the individual flavors of the various malts and the smooth character of J& B Rare. Perfect on its own or in a cocktail, mix with cola and pour over ice for a classic drink. Includes one 80 proof 750 mL bottle of J& B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky. Please drink responsibly.

Contains: GOVERNMENT WARNING: According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.

The Andersons And Newbiggings

J& B Rare | Blended Scotch whisky |

In 1889, William Cole died and his son Alfred inherited his interests in Justerini & Brooks so became partner with Thomas Walker. Cole was a director of the Bank of England and later its Governor so perhaps not that interested in the company he’d inherited, while the ageing Walker was ready to retire. So, in 1900 they sold Justerini & Brooks for £60,000. The Chairman, and the largest shareholder, of the company formed in order to purchase Justerini’s was Alexander Cecil Newbigging and his co-directors were George Bird, James Anderson and his son Hugh Anderson.

Hugh Anderson is joined in this story by his brother Herbert who progressed from partner to director and finally Chairman of J. G. Thomson from 1911 to 1929. The two brothers were at the centre of both the family whisky business and their London wine merchants. As the First World War upturned Europe, both brothers joined the fighting as Army officers.

Towards the end of the war, Hugh Anderson met Eddie Tatham, a junior officer who author Dennis Wheatley described as being ‘tall, fair, good looking, with enormous charm and a delightful wit’. His charm and wit obviously impressed Hugh Anderson as immediately after the war, in 1918, Eddie Tatham joined Justerini & Brooks.

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What Makes Macallan Special

Macallan is known across the globe for producing excellent whisky and doing so consistently. They set the example for what a single malt Scotch should be. The aging process gives it balance and character, making it recognizable as a Macallan.Macallan is unique because they produce consistent quality better than most other manufacturers youll find today. Despite their large production, theyve stayed true to this quality throughout.In fact, many people think of a distillery like Macallan that produces the volume they do to be a corporate bottling facility with the bottom dollar on their mind. However, Macallan has always put quality above production numbers, and in doing so, have been able to achieve success in both.

The Influence Of Rivals

Eddie’s plan was almost certainly influenced by the success Justerini’s nearby competitors, Berry Brothers & Rudd, was enjoying in America. Berry’s had an established US market prior to Prohibition and they had built on this during Prohibition thanks to a rum runner called Captain McCoy. His cargo was famously termed the ‘real McCoy’ due to his reputation for only carrying unadulterated cargo.

McCoy sailed his large ships from Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, to just outside the twelve-mile limit off the American coast. Nicknamed the Rum Line, this was just outside the reach of the American Coastguard. From here he would off-load his cargo of Berry Brothers’ Cutty Sark whisky onto smaller boats to be distributed to speakeasies across America’s East Coast. Dark whisky was often caramelised to hide the taste of illicit still production and inadequate maturation while Cutty Sark whisky was pale in colour, light in style, so considered the ‘real McCoy’.

Eddie travelled around the key cities of America’s east coast taking orders for wine and liquor from what Reuter’s later reported as being “like the dream guest list of a new-rich hostess.” Backed by a syndicate, Eddie’s plan was to copy McCoy and ship goods from Canada and England to outside the Rum Line where yachts would meet the ships to take the illicit liquor ashore. Yachts were seldom examined by the Customs agents due to the smugglers usually operating highspeed boats.

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Where Is J& b Scotch Made

1005 of J& B Scotch is distilled in Scotland and matured on-site for no less than three years. Its made at Justerini & Brooks, a fine wine and spirits merchant founded in St. Jamess in 1749, initially to provide wine and spirits to the aristocratic household of London.

Justerini & Brooks is owned by multinational Diageo plc. Its popularly known for creating and developing its blended house whiskey, J& B Rare. Today, Justerini & Brooks sells to private collectors based in 49 different countries and several hotels and restaurants across the UK.

The Birth Of J& b Rare

J& B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky 0.7L (40% Vol.)

Eddie’s hopes of building a new business based on Americans’ preference for paler, lighter blended Scotch had been dealt a blow but Justerini & Brooks would become a fierce competitor for Berry Brothers & Rudd’s Cutty Sark whisky and this came about after Eddie was joined by two new allies at the firm.

The first was Ralph Cobbold who was from a well-healed East Anglian banking and brewing family but had turned down managing his family’s wine interests within the brewery due to his being independently minded. He was also an inveterate gambler and playboy. At Justerini & Brooks he became Eddie’s protégé, continuing the style of salesmanship.

Eddie and Ralph Cobbold’s exploits would have been curtailed if it weren’t for the arrival of Kenneth Murray as new Chairman in September 1931. An Edinburgh lawyer who’d been badly injured in World War I, he was the family lawyer for both the Newbiggings and the Andersons. Murray arrived at a time when profits had dropped by 25% with the onset of the Great Depression and the firm still had to cover the continuing costs of Eddie’s American lawyers.

Justerini & Brooks needed to boost its profits and, sometime in 1932 with Ralph Cobbold’s backing, Eddie persuaded the new chairman that his vision of a light whisky blend aimed at the American market was the answer.

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Best Pairings With J& b Rare

Milk chocolates will impart additional creaminess to J& B Rare, which can soften its rough edges. Meanwhile, fresh walnuts or even some smoked trout can offer extra complexity.

As for cigars, I would consider something equally affordable but quite pleasant. For instance, the Gilberto Oliva Reserva, which has an Indonesian Sumatra wrapper, is a great choice. Generally speaking, opt for something flavoursome with a medium-bodied profile.

Review And Tasting Notes For The J& b Rare Blended Whisky

ABV: 43%

COLOUR: Light gold

NOSE: Grain sweetness, alcohol notes with malt and wood. Delicate hints of fruit salad sweetness. Not very complex.

PALATE: Drying oak and malt with caramel sweetness and hints of vanilla. Raws alcohol notes on the palate, which makes the dram rather rough. Water softens the alcohol notes but brings forward pepper and bitter lemon.

FINISH: Medium length with oak and bitter lemon.


The nose has a very distinctive grain sweetness that reminds me of my university days. We could not afford anything more expensive, and we mixed the J& B whisky with some Appletiser. John used to drink this with lemonade at university. A reasonable whisky to use in cocktails.

I find that it has a cloying sweetness and too many rough alcohol notes. The bitter lemon finish is also a bit off-putting. I need to do a budget whisky side by side review to see where this fits in with the other affordable drams I have tried this year. It is not my favourite.

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Overall Experience & Value For Money

The J& B initials are so recognisable to the point where the general public doesnt really know what they stand for. Nevertheless, its iconic and you notice it from a mile away. With initials like James Bond and its frequent appearances in film, its hard to miss.

The small hip-flask bottle is infamous and its one of the usual suspects that youll find abandoned at bus stops or street corners. Given that its cheap and fits easily in your pocket, its not particularly surprising.

Still, the label is quite stylish and features the crest of a royal warrant. Disregarding any associations it may have, its a stylish design.

When it comes to the occasion and versatility, its usually something that you hide in your desk for a cheeky nip. Its a very casual drink and hardly something thats used for special occasions. As mentioned earlier, its a very affordable cocktail ingredient that you can use when on a budget.

Price-wise, its cheap and cheerful. A regular 75 cl bottle should set you back just over $20 in the USA. Meanwhile, this small bottle cost me around 8 in Europe. Youd probably get better value by spending a little more but its a decent solution on a tight budget.

J& b Scotch Whiskey Variations

J& B Rare Blended Whisky – Whisky Wednesday

The J& B brands tradition explores new creative paths, as reflected in this wide product portfolio. The main releases in the J& B whiskey portfolio include the J& B Rare, J& B Jet, J& B reserve, and J& B Urban Honey Liqueur, etc.

1.J& B Rare Bot. the 1970S

This 40% ABV Scotch is the principal expression in the J& B whiskey expression. Its an old bottle of the worlds best-selling J& B blended Scotch whiskey created over a century ago. It is a light-colored and light-bodied whiskey thats grassy and nutty on the nose and has malt, spice, and sweet grain notes.

2.J& B 20-Year-Old Bot.1970s

This 43% blended Scotch whiskey is bottled at 20 years of age. It comes in a dashing square decanter-style bottle, which makes a nice change from the classic J& B bottle with the yellow label.

3.J& B Jet

This smooth whiskey is distinctively packaged in a black bottle at 40% ABV. Its made using a blend of 32 different whiskies, all aged for at least 12 years. Unfortunately, it was discontinued from the esteemed Justerini & Brooks.

4.J& B reserve

This unique offering is aged in oak casks for 15 years to reach the highest peak of perfection. Its malty, elegant, and smooth-tasting with a sweet and fresh wood note.

5.J& B Royal Ages

This 43% ABV antique from the 1970s was part of a private collection. Its a blended Scotch whiskey thats made with well-aged spirits.

6.J& B Ultima

7.J& B Urban Honey Liqueur

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Why Is Macallan Expensive

Macallan uses premium ingredients. It starts with the barley thats specially grown for the Macallan Distillery and ends with the aging barrels. The barley itself costs about 30-40% more than other whiskies. Because it costs more to make, it costs more to purchase, but its well worth the investment for the consistent quality they produce.

The Story Behind Justerini & Brooks And J& b Whisky

Words by Simon Difford

When friends or new acquaintances meet over a drink, the conversation enviably leads to the swapping of stories. Handily, for such occasions, the characters and history behind many spirits and liqueur brands make for great bar tales, but few stretch over 180 years with as many twists and turns as the story behind J& B Rare.

The story of J& B plays out across seven acts beginning in 1749 with a love-sick young Italian named Giacomo Justerini who was a long way from home in London’s Haymarket.

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