J&B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky
Spirit: Blended Scotch Whisky; 80 Proof; $25 Retail
This is something I had to explore. I have to admit I was very skeptical about this. I thought for sure when I bought it that it was going to be a $25 mistake. Then again, I’ve bought other scotches that were single malts and $35 and I had to pour them down the drain. So why buy it?
I read a biography by Jerry Lewis on Dean Martin. I love the Rat Pack and that whole era. Dean Martin was about as famous for J&B Scotch as Franks Sinatra was for Jack Daniels. In Sinatra’s case, I realize that the Jack Daniel’s he was drinking in the early 1960s is a very different drink than it is today. For one it was higher proof and not made in a factory much the same way Coca-Cola probably is today. It is the attention that Sinatra brought to Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey which lead to it to become so popular that they had to start mass producing it. Later they brought down the proof, and today if you want anything close to what Sinatra was drinking it will cost you closer to $200 for “Sinatra Select”.
What appealed to me about J&B Scotch is that I’ve always seen it everywhere along with Cutty Sark and Dewer’s, so there is a good chance that this is the same stuff that Dean Martin was drinking. And honestly, its actually pretty good. While it is only 80 proof, it has a nice, light, sweet taste and is very drinkable. It has the right amount of smokiness, sweetness and even a bit of heat.
Of course Dean Martin enjoyed other types of Scotch, but this one was one of his most favorites. And while him and his friends in the Rat Pack had enough money to buy the most expensive whiskey out there at the time, this is what was available in the casinos and night clubs they worked in.
He was also known to drink Haig & Haig, Black & White and probably some others. Of course once you put a handful of ice in a glass and pour any whisky over it after a few minutes its just a drink, not an experience because the ice freezes out the flavors and the water dilutes what you should be tasting. This however is fine in a Glencairn glass, but I enjoy it simply with a couple of ice cube in a rocks glass, just the way Dino would.
I might have had this sometime in the past but I don’t remember it. So while this is my first “official” bottle, it won’t be my last, especially when I am on a budget and just want something simple and unpretentious. If it was good enough for a legend, its good enough for me in spite of all my whisky travels.