Arthur Bell had previously worked for a Scottish drinks merchant, when he joined the company in 1837 and became a partner in 1851. Arthur could see the great opportunities in blended whisky and travelled around Scotland and the Isles to find malt whiskies for his own blends. He worked against the grain and, rather than using young, poorly matured whiskies for blending, he made a point of sourcing only well-aged spirit. From this he secured a sterling reputation as a man of substance.
The Bells name did not feature on the labels for some time, though. Arthur Bell believed that he did not need a brand to sell his whisky and that a consistent quality was enough. This changed, however, after his sons joined the business and in 1904 a whisky was released under the name Arthur Bell & Sons Extra Special Old Scotch Whisky.
In 1925, the company registered the company motto ‘Afore ye go’. The slogan came about during the First World War, when cases of Bells were sent to the docks for soldiers to enjoy 'afore' they went. Bells is today the UK’s bestselling blended Scotch whisky and the blend is still made from thirty-five different whiskies matured for between five and twelve years.