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Blended Whisky

How blended whiskies are made

Blended whiskies are whiskies blended together from different kind of distilleries. 

But their can also be different kinds of grains,  or malt used to make the blended whiskies. 

There are five types of Scotch whisky, each with a slightly different definition:

1. Single Malt Whisky

Whisky made at one distillery using pot stills and only malted barley.

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2. Single Grain Whisky

Whisky made at one distillery using a continuous still, or using any type of still and grains other than malted barley.

3. Blended Malt Whisky 

A blended malt whisky will be created using only malt whiskies, no grain whiskies are used. Blended malt whisky, like single malt whisky, can carry an age; this relates to the age of the youngest single malt used within the blend.

For example, if a blended malt whisky contains an 8, a 12 and a 25 year old single malt, the finished bottle may choose to carry the age 8 years old.

4. Blended Grain Whisky

A blended grain whisky is simply that which has been created by blending two or more single grain whiskies – no malt whiskies are included.

Blended grain whiskies tend to be very light and mild compared to blended malts and blended scotch whiskies.

5. Blended Whisky

Whisky made by combining malt whisky and grain whisky.

Can be a combination of different cereals, distilleries, countries, different barrels maturation and different ages. Must be at least 40% ABV. A lot of countries are producing blended whiskies nowadays. 

History of the blended whisky

 

In 1831, Aeneas Coffey invented the Coffey Still (or Patent Still) which allowed for a continuous process of distillation to take place. The Coffey still opened the door to the production of grain whisky, which would be used to create blended Scotch whisky.

The art of blending whisky was pioneered by Andrew Usher in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the early 1860’s. By mixing single malt whiskies, which at the time were fairly raw and strong flavoured, with the relatively new grain whiskies, whisky blenders were able to create a more accessible whisky that was lighter and sweeter in character; making them much more marketable to a wider audience.

 

In 1920 prohibition was passed in America making it illegal to buy or sell alcohol. As a result bootlegged Scottish and Irish whiskies were common throughout America; becoming big business for those willing to take the risk to smuggle them across the Atlantic.

What this did was create a market for the Scottish and Irish distilleries that boomed when prohibition was repealed in 1933.

Having become a favoured, albeit illegal, drink during prohibition, blended scotch and Irish whisky sales rocketed in the US. During the 30’s to the 60’s blended Scotch whiskies became the drink of choice among the Hollywood A-list. This lead to many references within popular culture such as music and film. One such purveyor of blended Scotch is Martin Scorsese, who references Cutty Sark whisky in many of his films such as Academy Award winning pictures “Raging Bull and mafia epic, “Goodfellas”.

Today, blended whisky is now a global phenomenon with brands such as Johnnie Walker, The Famous Grouse and J&B Rare leading the way in terms of success and recognition.

Whisky fact: "John ‘Johnnie’ Walker was a grocer in Kilmarnock, Scotland in the mid-1800s who specialized in blending tea before he decided to start blending whisky."
Livingbythedram
Whisky Blogger

Famous blended whisky brands 

Battle of the fittest

People that drink single malt whisky will say that blended whisky is a lesser then a single malt whisky.  Dont believe what other people say and try it yourself. There are lesser blended whisky for a cheap price and these whiskies are ment to be mixed with other drinks. But there are definitely quality, complex good blended whiskies. 

There are blended whiskies from quality distilleries and independent bottlers. But also old aged blended whiskies.  These whiskies have a fuller body, complexer and more aroma’s on the palate. 

statistics about blended whisky 

90% of the whiskies that are sold world wide are blended whiskies.

So that will leave only 10% of the total global whisky market for single malt whiskies. The global market for single malt whiskies are expending and is winning ground from the blended whiskies. But still has a long way to go. 

Top 5 best sold blended whiskies in the world by brand:

Rank

Brand

Owner

Est. volume 2016
(000s of 9-litre, 12-bottle cases)

% of total

1.

Johnnie Walker 

Diageo

14,490

19.4%

2.

Ballantine’s 

Pernod Ricard

5,757

7.7%

3.

Grant’s 

Wm Grants

4,064

5.4%

4.

Chivas 

Pernod Ricard

3,562

4.8%

5.

J & B 

Diageo

3,160

4.2%

 

Livingbythedram social media links 

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