Whisky, Rum and Spirits

What Is A Blended Whisky?

There are different types of Scotch whisky. Grain whisky, single malt, blend, you can call it whisky but there are a lot of differences between them.

It’s about time to shed light on a few questions and explain some things about the world’s most popular and favorite whiskey.

Blended whisky – What’s in the name?

There are basically 5 types of Scotch whisky sold legally. We will define them in the simplest terms.

Blended Grain Whisky

Whisky made by combining grain whiskies from different distilleries.

Blended Whisky

Whisky made by combining malt whisky and grain whisky.

Blended Malt Whisky

Whisky made by combining single malt whiskies from different distilleries.

Single Grain Whisky

Whisky made in a distillery and produced from different cereals other than malted barley.

Single Malt Whisky

A whisky made in a distillery and only with malted barley.

The names might be a mouthful, however, there is a valid reason why the names were chosen. Unlike before, vatted grain and vatted malt was how blended grain and blended malt we called respectively.

Rest assured though, that once you buy a bottle of Scotch whisky, it is one of those types of whisky, and you already know its composition.

Blended Whisky – A Brief History

Blends started to come up when whiskeys were sold in stores. Back in the good old days when glass was rare and quite expensive, whenever you wanted to drink whisky, you would bring your glass bottle to the local grocer, who would then fill it with whiskey from the barrel. These barrels would often be single malt. Over the course of time, these grocers would fill their barrels with any whiskey their hands can get, thereby, giving birth to blended malts.

These paved the way for some of the stores to meticulously formulate their own recipe of blended whiskies to achieve a flavor unique to them which in turn made them famous.

During the 1800s, the premium drink was brandy. The aristocracy on the other hand, preferred Cognac relegating Scotch whisky to the other drinkers. An Irishman named Aeneas Coffey was able to invent and later on patented a still that produces a lighter and more delicate style of spirits in 1830. Sellers then found out that if they mix this with the heavier single malts, the outcome is a more elegant blend of whisky that has an appeal to Cognac drinkers. Thus, the idea of Blended Whisky came into being.

Blended Whisky – The BIG Names

Johnnie Walker

Created by John Walker in the mid-1880s and originally sold in his grocery store in Kilmarnock.

Chivas Regal

A luxurious whisky brand, it is the fruit of two Scottish brothers. It was in Aberdeen that the Chivas brothers opened their first shop and became the first masters in the mix of flavours.

Ballantine’s

Named after George Ballantine and his Edinburgh grocery store.

Single Malts vs. Blends – Which is Better?

There is no point of exact comparison simply because they are different!

Blended whiskies are often more affordable than single malts. It presents a competitive and cheaper entry into the world of Scotch whisky, but that doesn’t mean single malts are better drinks. The process in which blended whisky is created, that is,by mixing whiskies from different distilleries, afforded it a wide variety of flavors and can compete with single malts.

Most whisky lovers start their whisky journey with the blended whisky. According to statistics,  90% of whisky sales worldwide are blended whisky effectively making it the whisky that most people enjoy.

While single malt fans dismiss blended whisky as cheap and uninteresting whisky, a deeper look will open your eyes to a wealth of great whiskies waiting to be discovered. You won’t be disappointed.

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