J&B 15 Years Review

Country: Scotland
Brand: J&B (Justerini & Brooks)
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: 15 Years

ABV: 40%

Colour: Light Gold

Nose: First impressions are Peat and Malt with some Sherry lurking in the back. After a while we get Tobacco, White Pepper, Black Tea and Old Leather. There are more wafts of grainy young alcohol than I would expect from a 15 Year old Blend. There is evidence from coastal – or Islay distilleries in this blend but I find it hard to describe them. It’s like smelling a salty sea breeze but maybe I’m getting a bit too poetic here. But definitively salty! It’s certainly less sweet than I expected given the presence of the Speyside Malts. There are certainly some interesting aspects to the nose but you need patience to get through the wafts of alcohol that keep distracting you from time to time. I will deduct half a point for that.

Taste: The delivery is a bit watery. A somewhat remarkable combination of sugary Candy and Peat, spiced up with White Pepper and Cinnamon. It’s hard to detect the malt whiskies here. Not at all elegant. No need to add water as the delivery is already on the thin side.

Finish: Disappointing. Short and dry with salted Nuts and White Pepper. That’s too little for a 15 Year Blend.

Rating: 80,5 

Nose: 21,5 – Taste: 20 – Finish: 19 – Overall: 20

General Remarks: In 1749, Giacomo Justerini from Bologna, Italy fell in love with a British opera singer and went back with her to London. Together with an English partner, George Johnson they started to merchant wine. In 1831 Alfred Brooks bought Justerini & Johnson and the company’s name became Justerini & Brooks. You can always argue about taste of course but the brown bottle used for J&B’s 15Y reminds me more of strong Belgian beer than of quality whisky. Why is it brown anyway? Is there something to hide? Ah, I love conspiracy theories!

The J&B 15Y is a blend of 42 grain – and malt whiskies, whereby most of the Malts are Speyside.

Drinking Experience Neat: Average/Good

Conclusion: Really disappointing. The nose is interesting although without a clear purpose or vision. The wafts of alcohol should not be that present after 15 years! Taste-wise there's too much sweet candy and the finish is not worth mentioning. It’s drinkable of course but in Brazil you pay around USD 100 for this blend! For about half that price you can get yourselves a great blend like Johnnie Walker Black!

Jan van den Ende                                                           December 23, 2011

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