When you hear the term “blended whisky” or see it featured on a bottle label, there’s a strong chance it has a negative connotation. This is most likely due to a number of factors. One reason is that single malt whisky is sometimes regarded as the best whisky available (particularly in Scotland). This is due to the fact that it is a malt whisky created entirely from malted barley. Single malt scotch whisky has a few additional significant standards, but are they any better than the rules that apply in other nations? The obvious response would be no, given that an estimated 90% of the Scotch whisky that is sold worldwide is a mix. Actually, single malt is the more complex of the two.
This 100% malted barley-based whisky can only be manufactured at one distillery, among other restrictions. However, it can be whiskies from different bottles. Providing they are all produced by the same distillery. Laphroaig is the source of every bottle of single malt whisky Laphroaig. The same is true for every single distillery producing single malt whisky, from Taiwan to Tampa, including Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Craigellachie, and others.
Single malt Scotch is nearly always more expensive than blended Scotch whisky because of its greater quality. In addition to being significantly less expensive (and occasionally of subpar quality), blended Scotch whisky is a combination of malted and grain whiskies from several distilleries.
As blenders choose which whiskies to combine in order to produce the desired scents and flavours, it’s pretty much a free-for-all. This explains why single malt alternatives to brands like Chivas, Famous Grouse, and many Johnnie Walker blends are significantly more expensive.
What distinguishes single malt whisky from blended whisky
Just to be clear, single malt whisky is just a whisky from a single distillery. Yes, it is possible to combine barrels of varying ages as well as those matured and finished in various types of woods, including former bourbon, French oak, and sherry-seasoned casks, to mention a few. It only needs to be a whisky-based expression produced by a single distillery.
On the other hand, blended whisky requires a little more skill. That’s because, as we’ve already established, it’s a blend of grain whiskies from various distilleries, a blend of malt whiskies from different distilleries, or a combination of the two. I’m done now.