The Comparison Between Single Malt and Blended Whisky

Many people tend to have the mistaken impression that single-malt Scotches are nowhere near blended whiskies. Even bartenders have made this mistake, but it actually isn’t all that true. It’s actually specific kind of blend. In actual fact, just about every kind of whisky available in the market is blends, such as bourbons and Tennessee’s. The main reason behind the confusion is the use of these two words – single and blends.

What’s a blend?

The word ‘blend’ can actually be used in two different manners – in a formal, or legal, way or in a more informal way. When used in a formal way, a blended whisky is a drink containing a mix of grain whiskies and barrel-aged malt. When used in a more informal way, it is a mix of more than one kind of whisky that is to be bottled up and in the market as one kind of whisky. The misunderstanding is due to the fact that when a whisky is considered single malt, it has to be the outcome of a single barrel or batch of whisky. However, that isn’t so as many single types of malt are made up of a mix of different whiskies because they are a blend

What about the single malt?

Single malt scotch whiskies are the product of just one distillery. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not the outcome of just a single barrel or even a single batch, but one distillery by itself. A single-malt Lagavulin can be made up of many different barrels of whisky that are produced in the distillery of Lagavulin, however it only contains whiskies that have been produced in the Lagvulin distillery.

Single grain scotch whiskies only have barley plus one or more types of cereal grains, which is normally corn or wheat. This is where the word ‘single’ is there to create more misunderstandings again. This is not a product that’s been created from a single type of grain, but rather produced in a single distillery.

House style, variables and consistencies

While whisky is being aged within oak barrels, a few variables would be influencing the turnout of the ultimate character of the whisky’s spirit. This involves climate variations, which means a barrel aging within its specific warehouse, or even variations that include the oak’s quality that are the material for the barrels. Due to the many different variables that can affect the barrel of whisky’s character, most whiskies are now made through the mixture of barrels together in order to attain a product that is consistent from a single release to another.

The distillery’s master blender then proceeds to taste through barrels that would be ready to be released and goes on to mix them, thus creating a product that is consistent with a profile flavour of the brand. However, not all barrels would perfectly suit the house style expected by consumers. In order to be able to attain that certain house style, it needs a blend of different whiskies from a fair amount of barrels.

What’s a single barrel scotch?

Single barrel scotches are made from a barrel of whisky, which hasn’t been mixed with whisky from any other sources. Every barrel release is unique in its own way because of the varying colors, flavours, aromas and other kinds of characteristics. A single barrel release is considered inconsistent from a single release to another.

Other types of blends

So you’ve learnt that a single malts is normally produced due to blending various whiskies from a number of different barrels that have been produced from a single distillery. There are other types of blends as well. Here are 3 types most consumers would come across.

  • Blended malt scotch whiskies

  • Blended grain scotch whiskies

  • Blended scotch whiskies

Blended malt scotch whiskies

Previously named as ‘vatted malts’, this is a blend of malts that are single that have been produced from more than one distillery. Companies purchase whiskies, then proceed to blend them, thus creating new products that have certain kinds of characteristics. Such companies include Compass Box. An example from Compass Box would be Peat Monster, which is a whisky that brings out the peat’s rich and smoky flavour.

Blended grain scotch whiskies

This is a blend with single grains produced from more than one distillery. Single grains are normally known to be mild and light. However, there are distilleries that produce exceptional and unique grain whiskies. Hedonism, from Compass Box, is the perfect depiction of a blended grain scotch.

Blended scotch whiskies

Most consumers tend to assume that blended scotches take up 90% of scotch departments when it comes to sales. Blended scotches comprise of a mixture of different grain whiskies and different malt whiskies that have been sourced from various distilleries. Such brands include Chivas Regal, Cutty Sark, Johnnie Walker, Dewar’s and J & B.

Now that the differences between single malts and blended whiskies have been made clear, you would probably be looking for a place that sells good single malts. Look no further because the best single malt scotch in Edmonton can be found at Keg n Cork Liquor Company. For more details, you can email us or drop us a call!