There are many types of Scotch whisky out there, from single malts to blended whiskey. No matter which brand or distillery you go with, you’ll end up with a spirit that has one or more of the five types of scotch, single malt and grain whiskey, blended malt and grain whiskey and blended whiskey. The names were chosen to reduce confusion around different kinds of the spirit since a lot of distilleries in the past used a lot of marketing terms that didn’t quite make sense. Now that you know a little bit of the back story, let’s get into blended whiskeys.
Since whiskey has been sold in stores, there have been blends. Before everything was sold in glass bottles, local grocers would fill up their customer’s empty bottles from a cask of whiskey. In the beginning, it was solely single malts. Later on, some shops just added whatever whiskey they could get to their casks, which led to the creation of blended malts.
Soon enough, some places started specializing in blended whiskey, curating the recipe and ingredients of the whiskey in their casks to keep the taste consistent. This happened around the beginning of the 1800s when brandy was the top choice for the rich. Scotch whiskey was considered rather uncouth, and something had to be done about it. That’s when Aeneas Coffey’s patented a still that produced grain whiskey, a spirit of a lighter and more delicate style. After it was mixed with heavier single malts, the modern idea of blended whiskey was born.
While it may seem like forever ago, the names of the biggest and most successful grocers of that time still live on, Andrew Usher, Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, Teacher’s and Ballantine’s. It’s incredible how these names have remained just as popular as they were 200 years ago!
Surprisingly, some whiskey enthusiasts firmly believe that single malts are much better than blends. The thing is that you can’t really compare the two! While single malt whiskeys are in fact, considered more exquisite, blended whiskey has things to offer as well. First, it’s a more affordable entry to the world of whiskey. Second, blended whiskey can be in a range of flavours that will please one and all. After all, they are created by mixing whiskeys from many different distilleries. As a result, they can definitely rival the single malts for both complexity and flavour.
If you are thinking of beginning your whiskey journey, blended whiskey is a good starting point. Don’t write them off as cheap or uninteresting or you will be missing out on a wealth of great whiskeys that are waiting to be discovered! Debating where to start? Buy a bottle of blended whiskey at ZYN in Calgary, Alberta, Canada or buy online at ZYN.ca!