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Bailie Nicol Jarvie Profile

Blended Scotch Whisky

Bailie Nicol Jarvie was a blend originally created in the late 19th century by wine merchant Nicol Anderson, and later produced by Macdonald & Muir – the original name for The Glenmorangie Company – which claimed it had the ‘highest malt content of any blended Scotch whisky’.

Anderson named the blend after one of the central characters in Walter Scott’s 1819 novel, Rob Roy – a patriotic Glaswegian magistrate and merchant and example of the Lowland gentry.

BNJ, as it was colloquially known, was a full, rich blend composed of Islay, Highland and Speyside malts along with Lowland grain. 

  • Production type
    Blended Scotch
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Bailie Nicol Jarvie History

BNJ was created in Glasgow around 1881 by Nicol Anderson who set up in business as a wine merchant and brewer’s agent in St Enoch Square, Glasgow. The company became limited in 1902 but failed during World War I, with R Thorne & Sons of Greenock distillery taking over the assets in 1919. However, Thorne too then failed in 1921 and Macdonald & Muir of Leith gained the BNJ brand from the liquidator, reputedly for £20.

From this point on BNJ became an available and respected brand which was introduced into the US by agents Balfour, Guthrie & Co of San Francisco after Prohibition had ended.

The modern version of BNJ appeared in 1994 when Macdonald & Muir relaunched it as a rich blend with a 60% malt content drawn from Islay, Speyside and the Highlands, and grain from Girvan. The youngest component whisky was at least 8 years old.

After an expensive ad campaign in 2014, which unsuccessfully attempted to take market share from Bell’s and the Famous Grouse, and with increasing pressure to conserve Glenmorangie’s malt portfolio for single malt bottlings, BNJ was finally withdrawn.

Timeline

  • 1880 Nicol Anderson & Co introduces the Bailie Nicol Jarvie brand later that year, or in 1881
  • 1884 The Bailie Nicol Jarvie brand name is registered as a trademark
  • 1902 Nicol Anderson & Co becomes a limited company
  • 1917 Nicol Anderson & Co goes into liquidation, with the company wound up in 1919
  • 1920/1 R Thorne & Sons goes into liquidation. Macdonald & Muir acquires the Bailie Nicol Jarvie brand name
  • 1994 The Bailie Nicol Jarvie blend is relaunched by MacDonald & Muir
  • 2004 The BNJ brand strategy is reviewed and the ‘Give it Two Fingers’ campaign launches at a cost if £1.6m
  • 2014 BNJ is withdrawn from the market

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See also

  • Douglas Macniven & Company Douglas Macniven & Company Douglas Macniven & Company Independent bottler

    Douglas Macniven & Company

    Subsidiary of The Glenmorangie Company Ltd that once bottled the notorious 80:20 blend.

  • James Martin & Company James Martin & Company James Martin & Company Blender

    James Martin & Company

    Producer of the James Martin blends, and now a subsidiary company of The Glenmorangie Co Ltd.

  • Ardbeg Ardbeg Ardbeg Distillery & brand

    Ardbeg

    Ardbeg is one of Islay's sweetest malts.

  • Glenmorangie Glenmorangie Glenmorangie Distillery & brand

    Glenmorangie

    French-owned site by the Dornoch Firth.

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