Hello my fellow whisky drinkers. Welcome to the first installment of Drinks with The Gentleman. Geeze. I think that might make me sound a little pretentious.. Especially since I am by no means a classic gentleman, but maybe that’s the goal of this whole thing? Gentlemanlihood. That’s totally a word. Plus, this entire blog is called “The Gentleman’s Journey”, so what the hell, right?
Okay, so no surprise here, but today I’ll be taking a look at ‘Justerini & Brooks’ blended Scotch whisky. If any of you have ever read a Scotch review before, you’ll know that they’re typically tailored to the select few that already know a lot about Scotch. While all the technical jargon used in these reviews can certainly be helpful, most of the time its all unnecessary. If you’re anything like me, all you really want to know is whether or not a brand is worth the time and money to drink.
That being said, for those who’d like to know a little bit more about some of the terms used by Scotch enthusiasts, head on over to my last post “Scotch 101: The Tasting Jargon”.
Now let’s get down to brass tacks (and Justerini & Brooks).
My dear ol’ dad always taught me that if you’re going to drink Scotch, to make sure that it’s a single malt. He would tell me, “Purity, this.. Quality, that..” So however valid his reasoning, for the most part I’ve followed that direction. So last month when I found myself on a plane headed to Costa Rica, and the only type of Scotch available was blended, I was less than thrilled. But what other option did I have? (That being said, Ihave had blended Scotches before that were quite good, so don’t freak out on me if you have a fondness for blends.)
After forking up an unruly $6 for a tiny little airplane bottle of J&B, I decided to test ol’ padre’s theory. I grabbed an extremely high-class plastic dixie cup from the stewardess, emptied the 2 ounce bottle, and got right to it. My ruling?
**I give Justerini & Brooks 6 Whisky Barrels out of a possible 10.**
So really, it’s not bad! I wouldn’t hesitate to drink it again if it were offered to me, but I wouldn’t go out to the store and buy it myself. What I can tell you though is that the next time you’re on a plane and J&B is the only option, go for it. After all, Scotch on a plane is Scotch on a plane.
The Technical Review
So now for the boring stuff.. Keep in mind that my overall rating of any Scotch is based on my personal preferences alone and not necessarily on any of the following technical stuff.
THIN vs. FULL Is it easy to drink, or does it knock you on your ass? Well, I’d have to say that as far as Scotches go, this one is fairly easy to drink and isn’t overwhelming at all. So depending on what you can handle, something easy like this might be up your alley.
CLEAN Think you can pick it out of a crowd? Well I sure don’t.. Maybe it’s because J&B is composed of 42 different whiskies (i.e. a blend), but I didn’t really notice anything distinguishing to make it stand out. Not necessarily a bad thing, but in my opinion, it doesn’t give me reason come back for more.
ROUND Is it well-balanced? Why yes, it is! I’ve found that whether it’s the first sip or the eleventh, J&B will always taste like the same 6/10 whisky.
SHARP Does is tingle in your mouth like Coke or Pepsi? Nope, not in the least. I like my Scotch to be sharp. In my opinion it adds an extra layer of dimension to the drink.. The easiest way I can put it? It’s sort of like choosing to drink ginger ale with or without the carbonation. It’s an easy choice.
FRUIT Pretty straight forward here. But yes, I picked up on some berries and citrus. Not too shabby actually..
PEATY Does it taste like a fire was just put out in your mouth? Well, it sure will if you drink J&B. Flavours like wood-smoke and charcoal are what tell you that your drinking a ‘peaty’ whisky.
Think I’m being too hard on Justerini & Brooks? Prove me wrong! Comment below with your opinion on J&B, or let me know if they have another type you think I should try.
– Graham Hamilton, The Gentleman’s Journey