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J&B Rare is comprised of 42 different whiskies. The website states that the malts come from the Speyside region (though I am sure there is some Islay in there somewhere). This mini, bottled in 2000, was imported to Turkey, of all places, and at 43%.
The colour is identical to the current 40% bottling - a bright, light gold. On the nose it is a little shy, but shows a similar profile of citrus, fruit and barley sugar - but with much more smoke! You would never have pegged this as J&B Rare - it's more like a Black & White, though not as complex. Again, water does little to the nose. Still pretty straightforward, but interesting.
On the palate, more body and depth, with berries, minty herbs, brine and a whiff of peat (not as much as on the nose). More malt than expected, especially when you add a few drops of water, which greatly improves it. Very nice.
The finish is medium length with lemon curd, light honey and a tiny amount of smoke. So we have three J&B Rares, imported to three different countries, at two different strengths. The 43% for Turkey is the winner here but really, they aren't all that different in style and basic profile. The current bottling (that we get in Ontario) is the weakest - too young and cheap-tasting. The 40% mini for the US is fuller bodied, while the 43% mini for Turkey is smokier and heavier. So, there you go. Here endeth the lesson.