The story of Justerini and Brooks begins in Italy. A young Giacomo Justerini from Bologna had fallen in love with an opera singer named Margerita Bellino. So enamoured was he that in 1749 he followed her to London. Sadly, Bellino did not requite his love. Justerini did, however, bring with him his uncle’s liqueur recipes. He established a business with George Johnson. In 1760, Giacomo Justerini returned to Italy after selling the business to Johnson.
The business was awarded a Royal Warrant by King George III and, in 1830, Alfred Brooks acquired the company. He renamed it Justerini and Brooks a year later. The J&B blend was launched and ‘Rare’ was promoted widely in the American market. When Prohibition was repealed the brand was very popular. During the 1950s, Justerini and Brooks merged with a company to form United Wine Traders Ltd. They latterly merged with the London Gin producers, W A Gilbey Ltd. The J&B brand has become one of the world’s most popular blended Scotch whiskies.