J&B Blended Scotch Whisky

In 1749, Giacomo Justerini, from Bologna, fell in love with an opera singer and followed her to London, bringing with him a number of recipes for liqueurs created by his uncle, who was a distiller. He found an English partner, George Johnson, and together they set up as wine merchants. In 1760, Justerini returned to his native land, and the same year, King George III honoured the firm with the first of its eight Royal Warrants.

In 1831, the business was bought by Alfred Brooks, a gentleman of means - it was said that his St John's Wood gardens were sufficiently large to include a snipe shoot. The firm became Justerini & Brooks, and its headquarters were established in Regents Park.

Seeing the potential of blended whisky, J & B was one of the first London spirits merchants to buy up stocks of mature malt whisky and create its own blend. This was named Club (and is still available from J & B's shops in St. James's Street, London and George Street, Edinburgh). During Prohibition the company were promoting a brand they had created specifically for the American market, J & B Rare, and when Prohibition came to an end in 1933, their activities began to pay dividends in and around New York City.

In the early 1950s J & B merged with another company to form United Wine Traders Ltd,and by the end of the decade it had conquered America. From this sound base, and helped by merger with W A Gilbey Ltd, the London Gin makers, the brand went on to win over the world. Today it is the second best selling blended whisky in the world after Johnnie Walker.

If you have any further information on this particular product, please email Anistatia Miller at anistatia.miller@euvs.org.

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