Poll Result: Your Opinion on Blended Scotch

by Oliver Klimek on June 10, 2010

The latest poll was answered by 68 people which is quite an increase from the last one. The question was how you liked your blended Scotch whisky in general. And here are the results:

  1. l also enjoy younger blends from time to time – 31 votes
  2. Blends? Me? Never! – 21 votes
  3. Only if it is at least a 12yo – 15 votes
  4. Blends are my favourite whiskies – 1 vote

As usual, let me start with the remark that the statistical significance of this poll is not to be rated too highly. Firstly because of the number of participants still is not very high, secondly (and perhaps this is the more important reason) this site is very much focused on single malt, so this is bound to distort the picture to some extent.

But nevertheless some interesting points can be seen here. The fact that only one voter confessed preferring blends over malts clearly shows that blends generally are regarded as a welcome addition to their single malt portfolio by two thirds of my readers. I admit that I had expected a lower number. Also a bit suprising in that light is (at least for me) that young blends are not sneered upon by a significant proportion of malt whisky lovers. I for one am a member of the 12yo+ faction, as I haven’t found a really enjoyable young blend yet.

It would be interesting to know what proportion of the blend refusers answered the way they did because they only have tried young blends so far. Perhaps some from that group would like to comment on that.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Yossi June 10, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Great poll Oli, I too was in the 12+ yr blends.

I think it may be important for people to understand, however, that *VAST* majority of “Single Malts” our there are still a blended whisky (more than 95% of ALL whiskies, single malts included, are blended whisky).

What differs is, to be call “single malt”, all of the whisky blended into your favorite bottle (Lagavulin 16yr, Glenmorangie Original, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, this list can go on and on) needs to be malted from *ONE* distillery.

A “blended whisky” differs in the sense that the whiskies which have been vatted together to make these bottles (E.G. Johnnie Walker, Black Bottle, Dewar’s, etc…) are from various distilleries (and may contain grain based spirit, not just spirit from malted barley).

The only true “Single Malts” are single barrel expressions (E.G. Balvenie 15yr, SMWS bottlings, Master of Malt Single Barrel bottles, etc…)

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Markus Nilsson July 6, 2012 at 10:41 am

Yossi, no single malts are blended whisky. You’re getting the terms mixed up. A blended whisky containes malt and grain -whisky- from more than one distillery, where the actual malt is from has nothing to do with it. Nore does it matter if it’s from one cask or 600 casks. It’s true that “blending” is part of the process creating a standard single malt expression, in blending several casks, but in no way does it make it a blended whisky.

And when you say for a single malt it has to be malted from one distillery I think you mean it has to be distilled at one distillery. None of the distilleries you mention does any malting of their own. The malt that has created a single cask whisky could be a mix from Germany, India and Sweden just as well.

Final point: you say that a blended whisky may contain grain whisky, but it actually MUST contain grain whisky to be a blended whisky. If not it is in fact a ‘blended malt’, previously labelled ‘vatte malt’.

I’m sorry if I come off as a besserwisser, but these terms are so often misunderstood and I think it’s important that people looking for answeres get them right.

Thank you for your time! :)

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Markus Nilsson July 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

Just realized this was an old post, I read June 10 and thought it was a couple of weeks ago, but it was the wrong year :P Oh well, even old posts deserves some attention ;)

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Oliver Klimek June 10, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Thanks Yossi for pointing this out. I have experienced that even experienced whisky lovers sometimes have their problems with the meaning of the word “single” in single malt.

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Roel de Leeuw June 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm

As Whisky Rating Analyst, I frequently am asked – and tempted – to try ‘blend’ and ‘vatted’ – now normally called ‘blended malt’), but, I admit, with very mixed feelings.

Two recent positive experiences I like to share with you:

8 yo Cutty Sark blend
Seems nothing specials, but this particular dram aged in the bottle over 50 years. I rated it 86 points, mainly because it had almost no grain character. Probably the single malt content was much higher in the fifties as it is now, and perhaps bottle maturation did help a wee bit too. The single malt used, seemed to be peated too.

Loch Lomond single blend (red label)
The only blend in Scotland that is made with both single malts and single grains from one distillery. This is a rather young version that also shows some peat influence, which one does not find too often in blends. I like it, but I like the “lactid acids” in the regular Loch Lomond malts too, so this may not come as a surprise. It is not very mature though. (no rating, yet, but worth a try)

Slainte, Roel

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