Blended whiskies are often over-looked in favour of single malts, however, it is important to firstly understand the difference between a single malt and a blended whisky to fully appreciate the category. Blenders play an incredibly important role in the whisky industry, ensuring consistency between every batch, even when this often involves having to use different stocks. It involves incredibly skilled work in marrying whiskies together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
First things first, what exactly is a blended whisky?
The first common misconception, derived from the use of the word ‘single’, is that single malt is not a ‘blend’. Single malt is the product of a single distillery, however, can be a fusion of multiple batches and barrels (unless of course declared as a single cask).
This is also the same for single grain whisky. Blended whiskies, in the legal sense, are when whiskies from multiple distilleries are blended together. Examples of this include Blended Scotch: single malt and single grain from multiple distilleries, Blended Malt: single malt from multiple distilleries and Blended Grain: single grain from multiple distilleries.
Why you should give blended whiskies a chance
Single malt whisky is highly revered for its singular characteristics and representation of a particular distillery, however, we believe that there is something to be said for the artistry, quirkiness and intrigue that can be found in the varied character of a blended whisky.
The joy of blended whiskies, is that blenders can draw on different styles of whiskies across Scotland, and the rest of the world, utilising their creativity to bring together whiskies, developing new levels of flavour complexity and ultimately creating something they believe is more interesting on the palate. This could be a marriage of single malt from two or more distilleries, which have been blended and married together to create something that the blender understands to be more compelling than the singular distillery's character.
Blended whiskies can also offer a more approachable and accessible option for many whisky lovers to take part in new tasting experiences. In particular, older blended whiskies offer a really good way to experience whiskies from different eras of production without feeling priced out of the market. Single malt from some of Scotland's most legendary distilling periods such as the 1960s can demand high sums at retail and auction, however, if you're simply interested in exploring and analysing the difference in production and style between time periods rather than a single distillery, blends offer a more accessible format to do so.