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Rare J&B Blended Scotch Whisky Impressions


What is it? 

Distillery: Justerini & Brooks, London, England
Name: Rare J&B
Make: Blended Scotch Whisky
Extra Info: A blend of 42 different Scotch malt and grain whiskies, with a strong Speyside influence (Knockando and Glen Spey in particular). J&B was heavily promoted for the American market during Prohibition and subsequently became very popular in the USA after Prohibition ended in 1933.

Why did I buy it?

I am a massive fan of John Carpenter's classic film The Thing. Released in 1982 and starring Kurt Russell, The Thing is a shape-shifting monster movie set in Antarctica with some of the best and grossest practical effects you will ever see. So what has this got to do with J&B whisky? Me buying this whisky is a perfect example that product placement in films works...Be it over 30 years after the film was released. Kurt Russell's character, the American helicopter pilot, R.J. MacReady, is introduced drinking J&B on the rocks alone in his quarters as he plays chess against a Chess Wizard chess computer. The scene ends with MacReady cracking the shits and pouring the contents of his glass over the chess computer's circuit boards. I alway thought it was because he lost, but now I now understand the real reason why he did it.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: Dark green glass bottle with a bright yellow label and iconic red J&B branding and screw cap. Looks perfectly presentable. Bottled at 40% ABV.

Appearance: Pale gold or straw coloured.

Aroma: Rubber and some kind of overripe fruit, bruised pear perhaps.

Flavour: Light and slightly smoky with an initial off-putting flavour that I cannot put my finger on. Addition of water or a mixer takes the edge off any unpleasantness.

Finish: Short with some spice.

Would I buy it again?

No. This is not a great whisky but to be fair it is not very expensive either, in fact, it is very cheap. The more of it I drank, the more I could tolerate the taste, but it is not really meant to be consumed neat. It is best with a mixer, preferably copious amounts of a strongly favoured one or in a cocktail. I bought it purely as a result of 30-year-old product placement in one of my favourite movies and will keep the bottle just in case I ever have the urge to dress up as R.J. MacReady and need a prop. I really wanted to enjoy it, but I didn't.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.


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