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Blended Malt Whisky

Blended malt whisky, once known as vatted malt or pure malt, is a symphony of single malt whiskies, meticulously chosen and masterfully combined from various distilleries. Unlike blended Scotch, which includes both malt and grain spirits, blended malt is exclusively the union of single malts, weaving together the individual character of each to create something unique. The result is a complex, nuanced spirit that offers an alternative to single malt purists and a sophisticated step up from standard blends for the adventurous drinker.

Making Blended Malt Whisky

The creation of blended malt whisky is an art form, demanding a keen nose, an experienced palate, and a deep understanding of how different single malts will interact. Master blenders, the maestros of the whisky world, start by selecting suitable candidates, looking for complementary profiles that promise to harmonise rather than clash. The selected whiskies are then blended together in precise proportions - a process that may be repeated several times to achieve the desired profile.

Once the blend is assembled, it may be returned to casks for a period of 'marrying.' This allows the individual malts to integrate and mature into a unified whole, smoothing out any rough edges and letting the array of flavours meld. The duration of this marriage varies, and the choice of cask can also influence the final taste, imparting additional layers of flavour - from the vanilla and caramel notes of American oak to the rich fruitiness of European oak.

The History and Evolution

Blended malt whisky has had a somewhat tumultuous history. The category was not always distinguished from single malts or blended Scotch, leading to confusion among consumers. It wasn't until the Scotch Whisky Association clarified the definitions in 2009 that "blended malt Scotch whisky" became a legally enforced term, ensuring that whisky enthusiasts knew precisely what was in their glass.

Sensory Profile

In terms of flavour, blended malt whiskies are a celebration of diversity. They offer a spectrum of taste experiences, often more complex than single malts, due to the various elements at play. A masterfully crafted blended malt might exhibit the peaty, smoky notes of an Islay malt alongside the sherry sweetness of a Speyside whisky, all underpinned by the heather and honey characteristics of a Highland malt. The possibilities are endless, with each blend expressing a different aspect of Scotch whisky's vast flavour landscape.

Iconic Blended Malts

Some of the most iconic blended malts have become benchmarks for the category. Johnnie Walker Green Label, for example, is a blend of four distinct malt whiskies, each contributing to a complex, well-rounded profile. Monkey Shoulder is another popular choice, initially designed for mixing but equally enjoyable on its own, which has introduced many to the category's potential.

The Drinking Experience

Drinking blended malt whisky can be an exploration in itself. It is typically enjoyed neat or with a small splash of water, which can open up the flavours, making them more accessible and pronounced. Ice can be added, although this may mute some of the subtleties the master blender has worked to create.

Blended Malts in Cocktails

While single malts are often reserved for straight sipping, blended malts are finding their place in the world of cocktails. Their complexity and robust profiles make them suitable for classic whisky cocktails, providing a depth that can stand up to mixers and other ingredients. For instance, the smokiness of a blended malt can add an extra dimension to a Whisky Sour or a Boulevardier.

Appreciation and Accessibility

One of the benefits of blended malt whisky is its accessibility. They are often less expensive than their single malt counterparts, making them an excellent entry point for those looking to delve into the world of Scotch without the higher price tag.

Pairing with Food

Blended malt whisky can be a delightful companion to food. The key to successful pairing is balance: the whisky should complement the dish, not overpower it. A lighter blended malt might pair well with seafood, while a richer, more robust blend could stand up to game or a meaty steak.

Sustainability and Innovation

The whisky industry is increasingly embracing sustainability, and blended malts are part of this movement. With no requirement for the spirit to come from a single source, blenders can select whiskies from distilleries that practice sustainable methods, such as using local ingredients or renewable energy.

Innovation is also rife within the category. Blenders are experimenting with non-traditional cask finishes, such as rum or tequila barrels, to introduce novel flavour profiles to their blended malts. This spirit of experimentation is attracting a new generation of whisky drinkers eager to explore beyond the confines of traditional single malts.

The Future of Blended Malt Whisky

The future of blended malt whisky looks bright. As appreciation grows, so too does the recognition of the skill involved in creating these spirits. With each passing year, new blends come to market, each offering a unique experience, broadening the horizons of whisky enthusiasts around the world.

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Scallywag product image
Scallywag
70 cl / 46% ABV
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45 Reviews
36.38
Seaweed & Aeons & Christmas Cake & Cinnamon product image
Seaweed & Aeons & Christmas Cake & Cinnamon
70 cl / 43.8% ABV
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13 Reviews
36.95
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Big Peat product image
Big Peat
70 cl / 46% ABV
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69 Reviews
35.95
37.94 -5%
Price Drop
Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 Year Old product image
Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 Year Old
70 cl / 43% ABV
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154 Reviews
41.94
46.00 -9%
Compass Box Spice Tree product image
Compass Box Spice Tree
70 cl / 46% ABV
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40 Reviews
44.46
Sheep Dip product image
Sheep Dip
70 cl / 40% ABV
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46 Reviews
28.49
Old Perth The Original product image
Old Perth The Original
70 cl / 46% ABV
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8 Reviews
38.49
Timorous Beastie product image
Timorous Beastie
70 cl / 46.8% ABV
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38 Reviews
34.90
Compass Box The Peat Monster product image
Compass Box The Peat Monster
70 cl / 46% ABV
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52 Reviews
50.00
Old Perth Cask Strength Blended Malt product image
Old Perth Cask Strength Blended Malt
70 cl / 58.6% ABV
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6 Reviews
47.60
Naked Malt Blended Malt Scotch Whisky product image
Naked Malt Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
70 cl / 40% ABV
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94 Reviews
27.99
The Gauldrons product image
The Gauldrons
70 cl / 46.2% ABV
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18 Reviews
48.95
Rock Island product image
Rock Island
70 cl / 46.8% ABV
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42 Reviews
39.95
The Double Peat product image
The Double Peat
70 cl / 46% ABV
38.28
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Kaiyo Whisky product image
Kaiyo Whisky
70 cl / 43% ABV
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17 Reviews
84.49
89.59 -6%
Mackmyra Brukswhisky product image
Mackmyra Brukswhisky
70 cl / 41.4% ABV
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33 Reviews
48.94
Monkey Shoulder Smokey Monkey product image
Monkey Shoulder Smokey Monkey
70 cl / 40% ABV
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22 Reviews
33.95
Hatozaki Pure Malt product image
Hatozaki Pure Malt
70 cl / 46% ABV
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20 Reviews
53.00