We are all aware of Johnny Walker, Chivas Regal, Grant’s, and Dewar’s. These whiskies are not single malts however. These are blends. They consist of other whiskies from different distilleries blended together to come up with a unique flavour. For Scotch, this must be sourced from other single malts. However, let’s not be confused, blending product from different batches or casks of single malt from the same distillery can still be called a single malt. The age on the bottle of a blended malt indicates the age of the youngest single malt included in the blend.
The blending process does not diminish the quality nor speak to the craftsmanship that goes into producing these whiskies. In fact, producing a blend may be quite a difficult task indeed. Consider that over the years, despite changing cicumstances, the blender must produce virtually the same product or risk losing his clients. Why is it difficult to maintain a consistent product? There are just so many variables at play. Your source products may change over time, including the way it is aged, the casks used, the barley used, etc. Also, if a supplier were to stop making one of the products in your blend, you would be forced to find an alternate which would not affect the taste of your blend. Perhaps you would even have to change other components of your blend to achieve the same flavour as previous by trying new combinations. The permutations are countless.
I have not yet tasted a blended whisky for the purposes of reviewing on this blog, but that situation should be rectified in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned.