So you love whisk(e)y and you’re looking for a new dram to buy -it’s got to be a single malt though right? Well don’t be too hasty! Just because you’ve been brought up to know single malt is best doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true!
Roughly 90% of all Scotch whisky sold around the world is in the form of blended whisky. In fact it wasn’t so long ago (well maybe to some people it is) that blended whisky rained supreme and single malt was almost a dirty word (or words… you know what I mean!). Blending was used as a way to round of single malts which once upon a time weren’t as palatable as the single malts of today.
During the American prohibition bootlegged Scotch and Irish whisk(e)y became common place. Once they had the common sense to repeal prohibition in 1933 there was already a big market for whisky thanks to this illegal bootlegging and blended whisky took full advantage of this.
Then in the 60’s Hollywood did it’s thang and really gave blended whisky a big boost… Not long after though marketing took hold and decided there wasn’t enough money in blended whisky and single malt was the answer! That’s when we were told that age is everything and “the older the whisky is, the gooder it is!” Now we’re in a state where aged single malts command more money however demand is outstripping the supply and as a result some distilleries are having to temporarily stop selling certain aged whiskies while they replenish their stocks. At the same time the price of aged whisky is on the rise.
That’s the story I heard anyway and it had me convinced 😉
So where was I? Oh yeah, blended whisky! Now just because everyone knows single malt is better doesn’t make it so. My biggest case in point is Compass Box – Spice Tree. This is an absolutely astounding whisky (take my word for it okay?) and it’s also (drum roll please) a blended whisky! There are also other very good blends out there that are usually cheaper than a single malt, aged or NAS (Johnnie Walker or Chivas Regal anyone?).
So next time you’re looking to buy a new dram don’t just go straight for the single malt section, why not take a moment and peruse the blends as well. Not only are you likely to find a bargain but you might just find that blends aren’t just a cheap drop to add to your tea!
Or if you’re feeling really adventurous why not try creating your own blend! The Whisky Lounge offer blending workshops where you can try your hand at being a “master blender” – that’s where myself and my partner for the evening create our master piece – the “All Night Blender”. (See what I did there tying the title into the text? That probably has some fancy term attached to it!) Alternatively you could just go full Dr. Jekyll and try to create something fantastic in your own living room 😉