J&B Royal Ages 15 Years Old (1970s)
Justerini & Brooks, or as it is better known, J&B, traces its roots back to 1749. Back then it was a producer and retailer of liqueurs in London, but they company quickly moved into wine and spirits also. Today it is part of the Diageo Scotch whisky portfolio, and is one of the best selling blended Scotch whisky brands in the world.
They heyday of J&B was back in the late 1960s, when it was selling over 2 million cases annually in the United States. The J&B Royal Ages 15 Years Old I’m trying today was bottled not long after. It comes with a disclaimer however. Look at the picture. Notice something? The fill-level is abysmal. That’s probably a sign it was stored in less than optimal conditions. And yes, this is a picture of the actual bottle where my sample was drawn from.
J&B Royal Ages 15 Years Old (43%, 1970s)
Nose: Inviting and fresh, with soft citrus notes and freshly cut apples, accompanied by baking spices and cookie dough. A whiff of rubber. Is it super complex? No. But is it enjoyable? Sure.
Taste: This is where it has a little less to offer. Soft spices, some rubber, a whisper of smoke. A tad bitter. And that’s it.
Finish: Barely anything going on. Disappears surprisingly quick.
While the nose certainly has something to offer, there’s not much use in drinking it. Although I strongly suspect that a well-preserved bottle would withstand my scrutiny better.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.