Overview of Blended Scotch Whisky

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Understanding the various types of spirits is only the beginning. There are subtypes, including blended Scotch whiskies that are some of the finest produced in the distilleries of Scotland.

There are those who believe that single malt scotch is the only way to go and are more than happy to extol the virtues therein. However, this is a fairly new concept in the matter of desired spirits. Before the year 1950, there was essentially just blended Scotch. Even more recently, it has begun to receive a reputation of being a lesser choice. One of the reasons that this may be is due to the whiskies that are used to make it. Four-fifths of many brands are comprised of grain alcohol, which is fairly cheap, while the remaining fifth is the more desired malt variety that provides the better flavor. The actual reason is far more likely due to the fact that many blended whiskies are actually produced in countries other than Scotland.

There are some blends that work nicely either straight or with a bit of water, including Macallan and Dalmore. However, many other blended whiskies are more akin in flavor to turpentine or cheap moonshine, increasing the poor reputation blends have developed. Those who have not developed the proper knowledge of a connoisseur generally do not realize that these inferior spirits are not actually Scotch whiskey. Those lacking in education think that a Scotch label does not actually mean that the product was developed in some other country which does not have the same demands and techniques during their creation. The improper knowledge, coupled with unscrupulous practices by some has harmed the reputation of blended whiskies. For instance, almost 30 restaurants in New Jersey faced charges of giving customers water, rubbing alcohol and a coloring agent that was labeled as top of the line whiskey. There was an investigation done by undercover agents that which found more than a dozen TGIFriday’s were involved in the deception. Nationwide, The Briad Group operates 70 of these restaurants.

This type of treachery harms consumer perception and lessens the reputation of those who have dedicated themselves to creating the quality whiskies that educated ones appreciate.

Blended Scotch Whiskey

 

The largest whiskey manufacturers in Scotland have learned the art of creating the vast majority of ones that are high in quality. The secret blends have been around for more than a century and use blends that include both single malt and high quality grain whiskies. When mixed properly, these provide the distinctive flavor and scent that connoisseurs appreciate. In fact, in the whiskey industry, those that know how to achieve this ideal are known as Master Blenders. The men and women who have dedicated themselves to this have a great deal of respect within the industry due to their diligence and perfection of the blend.

Blended Scotch

This form of whiskey was discussed in the Scotch Whiskey Guide and is fairly straight-forward. It consists of at least one each of both a single malt Scotch and a single grain Scotch.

Blended Malt Scotch

This is one of the least consumed types of Scotch on the market today. It can be referred to as either a pure malt or a vatted malt. It is created by at least two malts from differing distilleries. They are then blended to create a blended malt Scotch.

Blended Grain Scotch

This is similar to that of a blended malt. However, it has single grain Scotch from at least two distilleries. The two are combined to create one whiskey with a better flavor than either had individually.

The Backstory

Although single malt has a substantially greater following than blended whisky, the truth is we would not even know about single malt  had it not been for blended ones. Originally, the blended Scotch were the only kind that were produced for about hundred or more years.  As a matter of fact, single malts were simply made illegally in some barns with homemade stills and no one would buy or drink them.

It was in 19th Century when Scotch Whisky turned to worldwide sensation. After production of single malt became legal, renowned distillers such as Johnnie Walker and Chivas started to regularly make blended products that hit the stores and bars globally.

In the United States of America, nine-tenths of the Scotch being imported is blended. The rest is single malt. Though many prefer single malts, believing them superior, the reality is that throughout the world the blends are generally better flavored and preferred by the masses in addition to being more affordable.

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Popular Brands

There are several types of blended Scotch, with a few that are very well recognized and popular and some that may end up being a pleasant surprise.   Listed here are a list of some highly regarded brands plus some of my personal choice:

Here are some of our favorites:

To understand how to appropriately enjoy Scotch Whisky, in addition to get a more comprehensive background, check out our in-depth overview Scotch Whisky.  For inspiration and reviews of different Scotch brands, click here.

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