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Posted 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Cat Bell

The Age Old Debate: Single Malt vs Blended Malt

The age-old debate: Single Malt vs Blended Malt. Here at Douglas Laing we believe you should enjoy your Whisky the way you enjoy it the most.

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The age old debate: Single Malt vs Blended Malt. Here at Douglas Laing we believe you should enjoy your Whisky the way you enjoy it the most.

After all, we love our Blended Malt range, the Remarkable Regional Malts, just as much as we love our Exceptional Single Cask Single Malt Whiskies. If you need a hand in deciding which is for you though, we can help with that!

Single Malt vs Blended Malt – What’s the Difference?

The Scotch Whisky Association defines a Single Malt as 'A Whisky distilled at a single Distillery from water and malted barley without the addition of any other cereals, and by batch distillation in copper pot stills.'

Essentially, a Single Malt Whisky can be made up of many different Casks married together, but all Casks will have been distilled at the same distillery.  A Blended Malt is defined as 'a blend of Single Malt Whiskies, which have been distilled at more than one Distillery.' Blended Malts are married together in the same way as Single Malts, the only difference being that the Single Malts in a Blended Malt all come from different distilleries.

Another easily confused term is that of Blended Scotch. Not to be confused with Blended Malts, Blended Scotch is produced by combining Single Malt and Grain Whisky. Grain Whisky is generally much more cost efficient as the ingredients are more readily available than barley. Grain Whiskies have historically always been used in Blended Whiskies as a strong foundation, and Single Malts are an additional accent of flavour. Some Blended Scotch Whiskies can contain over 50 different Single Malt and Grain Whiskies!

Single Malt vs Blended Malt – Choosing your Dram

A common perception of Blended Whisky is that it is cheap. This is not necessarily true, it is completely possible to find lower priced Single Malts and higher priced Blended Malts of varying quality. Single Malts may often be the preference for Whisky enthusiasts, and as these carry a higher price (usually related to their maturation period), it is easy to believe that they are “superior”.  

However, Blended Malts, carry many unique and alluring benefits of their own. Master blenders are able to take the very best Single Malts and marry them together, creating an improved recipe capturing all the flavoursome notes from the Single Malts used.

In short, there are great quality Single Malts and there are great quality Blended Whiskies. It just comes down to personal preference.

Whether it’s a Single Malt, Single Grain or Blended Whisky, you can be assured of its exceptional depth.

-Douglas Laing & Co.

What about Single Casks?

The difference between a Single Malt and a Blended Malt can often lead to confusion when approaching the term Single Cask.

It’s not uncommon for the discerning drammer to believe a Single Malt they possess has been born from one Cask. This is incorrect. What this is, is actually a Single Cask Whisky. A Single Malt Whisky can contain anything from a dozen to hundreds of different Casks of Whisky, so long as it is distilled in just one Distillery. Each individual cask offers up its own specific properties – to establish consistency within an always-available Single Malt, Distilleries will typically marry together many casks to create a steady product line. Whisky labelled as having been charged from a “Single Cask” will have been extracted from just that - only one cask – and as such will offer up tasting notes different to any other Whisky in existence – something of which, we explore more when looking at the relationship between Whisky and Wood.

 

If you are new to the world of Whisky and unsure where to start, we suggest trying a dram from our Blended Malt range, the Remarkable Regional Malts. Each member of the “family” represents the ultimate Distillation of a Scotch Whisky Region, making it the perfect introduction to Whisky. Each Whisky, and therefore region, has its own unique flavours so we definitely have the one for you! 

For the connoisseur, sampling a dram or two from our Exceptional Single Cask range won’t disappoint! We add nothing and we take nothing away – they truly are as natural as they get. It’s pure honesty in a bottle, allowing you to experience Whisky exactly as the Distiller intended…

Who wins the great Single Malt vs Blended Malt debate? It’s an impossible task to choose! Both are remarkable in their flavour, but sometimes one is more fitting for the occasion. The choice is yours.

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