J & B Blended Scotch Whisky
The history of how J & B whisky came into being has an Italian connection with a gentleman by the name of Giacomo Justerini travelled to the UK in 1749 his mission (typically Italian) was to win the love of a famous Opera singer Margherita Bellino. Like many men turned down by the women they love Justerini turned to alcohol, however in Justerini’s case this meant going into the wine business in the fashionable Pall Mall area of London. His partner in the wine merchants was George Johnson and there business selling to the great and the good of London’s aristocracy went from strength to strength, culminating in earning a Royal Warrant providing luxuries for King George III.
It was 1779 before the first recorded Johnston and Justerini whisky was advertised in the morning post with the name ‘Usquebaugh’. You can see why they changed the name to J & B however this was some time later when the 3rd generation of the Johnston family sold out to Alfred Brooks and the company became Justerini and Brooks. It was 100 years later that J & B Rare as we know it today was born when Justerini & Brooks were aiming to give the Americans a taste of some good whisky after years of prohibition.
The popularity of J & B rocketed in the late 1950’s after music icon’s like Sammy Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were seen drinking J & B during and after their Las Vegas shows. J & B Rare was also introduced to Spain in 1962 and quickly became the most popular whisky in the country by 1963 J & B Rare whisky was selling 1 million cases per annum. The 1970’s saw the blended whisky become well known throughout Europe and North America with J & B Rare and J & B Rare Scotch selling well.
So why was this whisky so popular? There were 42 different whiskies used to create J & B mostly malt whiskies from Speyside but complimented by fine grain whisky. Only Johnnie Walker sells more whisky than J & B.