Is A Single Malt Scotch Better Than A Blended Scotch or A Grain Whisky?

There is a great deal of snobbery in the whisky community towards blended whiskies and even grain whiskies.

To understand their place, we must first understand their history.  

Blended malts were originally designed to even out the extremes of character often found within single malts, to make them more palatable and approachable for the mainstream drinker. Around 90% of whisky sales worldwide are sales of blended whiskies.

Blended whiskies are often seen as basic whiskies by some and perhaps do lack the complexity of a single malt. Lets not forget however they are made up of various malt whiskies combined for flavour. This does make them relaxed easy drinkers. 

Examples of blended whiskies would be Johnnie Walker or Ballantines. 

Some blends may contain up to 40 or even 50 different whiskies however most blended scotches contain a higher proportion of grain whisky than malt.

Grain whiskies also have an unfair reputation as the single malts poor cousin. It is much easier and quicker to produce (therefore cheaper) and is used as a filler in blended scotches which doesn’t help its reputation.

It is worth remembering that these give real flavour and texture to the blends and have a great character all of their own. A good, well aged single grain whisky is a great dram indeed. Girvan, Invergordon and Port Dundas are all well worth looking out for.

Find more articles in the Knowledge Base and Scotch Whisky FAQ Page

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