What is blended whisky?

Simply put, blended whisky is made by combining malt whisky and grain whisky together to create an expression. A blended malt whisky is an expression that has been made by mixing single malts from different distilleries together. Similar to blended malt whisky, blended grain whisky is an expression that has been made by combining single grains from different distilleries together.

Blended whisky varies from single malt, which is made at just one distillery using only malted barley. However, single malt whisky may blend whiskies from different casks from the same distillery. For example, a distillery may combine sherry cask and oak cask matured whiskies to create a complex flavour profile. The only whisky that will technically never blend whiskies of any kind is single cask whisky which does exactly what it says on the tin - the whisky is matured in just one cask before being bottled.

Blended whisky is perfect to sip neat, on ice, or use in a cocktail. It's an extremely versatile type of whisky and is oftentimes less pricey than single malts.

The history of blended whisky

Blended whisky has been around since the mid-1800s. It was a particularly popular produce amongst grocery stores, with owners mixing single malts with whatever whisky they could get their hands on. Over time, this became a much more nuanced and carefully monitored process that produced some excellent blended whiskies. Many of the best-loved blended brands today, such as Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal, started out in these grocery shops.

A man called Andrew Usher led the charge in the development and trade of blended whiskies. Usher's Old Vatted Glenlivet was the first big name blend to hit the market, being transported from Usher's home in Edinburgh to all across the UK and, eventually, all over the world.

How do age statements work with blends?

Lots of blended whiskies tend not to offer up age statements, however, there are rules for those that do. The blend must take its age from the youngest whisky in a bottle. For example, if a blend brings together a three-year-old whisky, a five-year-old whisky, and an eight-year-old whisky, the blend is technically a three-year-old.

However, whisky fans do not tend to shop with age statements in mind when browsing for blended whiskies. It's all about the flavour profile of the dram as opposed to the age that's on the bottle.

Blended Whisky vs. Single Malt

Some whisky purists may argue that single malts are superior to blended whiskies. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Blended whisky accounts for the vast majority of whisky sales across the globe - some of the best-loved whiskies in the world are blends! For example, Hibiki, Monkey Shoulder, and Jameson are all beloved blended drams! There’s a huge range of blended whiskies to explore – by turning up your nose at them, you're cutting yourself off from a world of fabulous drams waiting to be tried.

You can shop our entire range of blended whiskies at The Whisky Shop today!