Renowned British wine and spirits merchant, Justerini & Brooks, based on St James’s Street in London, has built an enviable reputation supplying the highest quality wines and spirits to its customers for over 270 years. J&B Rare, known as the ‘wine merchants’ whisky’, was created by Royal Warrant Holders Justerini & Brooks in the early 1930s, happily coinciding with the end of Prohibition in the US, where the whisky became an overnight success.
J&B Rare – created at a time when Scotch whisky tasted notoriously rough – was an act of blending mastery, bringing together the sophisticated flavours of single malts with lighter grain whiskies to give a fresh and vibrant finish. This lighter, blendable style suited a new generation of whisky drinkers, and was ideal for drinking neat on the rocks or mixing in long drinks and cocktails.
In the 1950s and ’60s, J&B Rare became a favourite of the Hollywood ‘Rat Pack’, including Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. Their wider group encompassed JFK, Marilyn Monroe and Truman Capote, who always ordered a ‘Justerini & Brooks’, calling the whisky by its full name. J&B Rare had a reputation as the drink of the influencers and innovators of the day.
The iconic bottle remains virtually unchanged from the 1930s. Its striking red and yellow label and retro design gives the whisky standout appeal on the shelves in the world’s top bars, from Shanghai to New York, and then back to London.
In the 1950s and ’60s, J&B Rare became a favourite of the Hollywood ‘Rat Pack’, including Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr