Blended whiskies are just cheap whisky?
Not at all - Blended Scotch Whisky accounts for around 91% of the volume of Scotch whisky consumed globally, and around 76% of the value in the category.
Blended Scotch whisky has been around for around 300 years, but has only been created commercially since 1840 thanks to the first Master Blender, Andrew Usher. Before this, whisky from single distilleries – single malt, of sorts – were so random and inconsistent in flavour that trying to sell them was nigh on impossible because, in no small part, the flavour variance between batches was significant meaning that one batch of whisky from Distillery X may taste great this week, but next week it may be like fire water.
Which is better? Single malts or blends?
The perception amongst many whisky drinkers and commentators is that single malts are best. This is patently untrue. Anything other than single cask Scotch is a blend. Let that settle.
Single malt Scotch whisky is still a blend, but it is a blend of whiskies from one distillery whereas blended Scotch whisky is a blend of whiskies from multiple distilleries.
How much Blended Scotch Whisky is sold in the world?
According to many sources across the industry, blends make up over 90% of the global whisky market. Seriously. They are enjoyed the world over by whisky newbies through to whisky connoisseurs and collectors, and it’s all because they came first, commercially at least. Single malt as we know it only started being sold to consumers in 1963 (more on which whisky brand launched the first single malt in a chapter or two's time), but prior to that single malt was reserved for the lucky distillery workers and locals. Everyone else was interested in blends, or so they thought.
What is the different between blended whisky and single malt whisky?
I always think of single malt as being the perfect expression of a distillery's product whereas I view blends as being a blender's masterpiece. The skill of the blender is in crafting the same flavour profiles year after year, batch after batch, bottle after bottle, not to mention using different ingredient whiskies than were available last year.