There are around five different categories of Scotch whisky, so we’re taking you through them all to give you a better understanding of what you’re enjoying. Here we take a look at blended Scotch Whisky.
Blends have the largest market share of any category of Scotch, standing at around 80%, which is pretty huge considering single malt is only 10%. Blends, like single malts and most other whisky categories are highly regulated. The definition of a blend by law is pretty simple. At its most basic, it’s a mix of different whiskies from different distilleries. Some of the best known whisky brands deal solely in blends, including Johnnie Walker, Ballantine’s and J&B Rare.
If we really get into it, blended Scotch whiskies are made up of malt and grain whiskies that have been distilled at multiple distilleries and each has to have been matured for at least 3 years. This is not to be confused with blended malt whiskies, (8% of the market), which can only be made from barley, so no grain whisky can be in a blended malt. Blended Scotch whisky on the other hand, is a mix of malts and grain whiskies.
Blended Scotch whiskies combine malts and grain whiskies to great effect. The complexity of the malts are tempered by the fuller bodied grain whiskies. Grain whisky is cheaper to produce, so a lot of Master Blenders use them to make the whisky more affordable, while at the same time, allowing the richness of the malts to come out as well.
This makes the job of a Master Blender challenging. They have to be able to balance the malt and grain whiskies to strike a perfect harmony. The grains provide a nice backdrop for the complexity of the malts to really show themselves, but it is up to the Master Blender to get the combination right.
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