A master distiller from Italy, Giacamo Justerini (the ‘J’ in J&B), falls head over heels for an Opera singer, Margherita Bellini, and follows her to England. His love is unrequited, but Margherita introduces him to Samuel Johnson who will in turn introduce him to his future business partner, his nephew, George Johnson.
Two generations of Johnsons later we meet the other initial in J&B – Alfred Brooks. Brooks buys the company from Johnson and renames it Justerini & Brooks. Brooks hears of Andrew Usher, an Edinburgh Spirit merchant, who likes to experiment and was the first person to commercially blend whisky.
Justerini & Brooks task Usher with creating a smoother blend for a new audience, so he brings his business partner into the mix – James Anderson. Together they develop the J&B Club blend, one of the earliest Scotch house blends, and they acquire the business together.
Enter Eddie Tatham, a family friend of Anderson’s. Eddie is hugely charismatic and soon becomes director of the company. In 1929, the creation of J&B Rare was put in jeopardy when Eddie, after taking orders from wealthy clients in Prohibition-era America, was arrested at Grand Central Station carrying a briefcase full of samples.
Eddie is bailed out and meets Charlie Julian, a blender known for his great nose, refined palate and his instinctive knowledge of consumer demands. They begin the blending process for J&B Rare – just in time for Prohibition to come to an end.
We’re now celebrating over 250 years of J&B, a history filled with dynamic individuals and a heritage built on chance encounters. A story that shows the good that happens when people come together. A brand that’s made for people who like to mix things up.