Blended Malts versus Single Malts

Blended Malts versus Single Malts

As much as I can follow on social media, I see most single malt lovers speak of blends as an inferior juice and tend to worship single malt. Blended malt also gets its share in these discussions as the sorry cousin of single malts. I see the point, 95% of what Chapter 7 bottles is single malt whiskies but I tend to think of them as different products altogether. All of them are connected by history and from a distiller's or blender's point of view but should they be even compared?

When you look at companies marketing all the three, they put them in different product categories and market them accordingly. I don't think it makes much sense comparing apples to oranges and expect one to play a Hollywood action role in a Shakespeare play. Blends currently lead innovation and excitement in Scotch Whisky and give an immense opportunity to advance Scotch Whisky to take a bigger part of the cake in mixology or as a straight choice over other spirits. who could have imagined Monkey Shoulder would become one of world's best selling whiskies 10 years ago? This is good for Scotch whisky industry no?

Another point is about the making of blends. As a whisky maker, you have a wide array of things you can do to acquire different characters from a single malt: using different crops, yeast, fermentation/distillation techniques, cuts, wood, vatting, filling strength etc. But all of these require a craft approach which doesn't always suite industrial production. With blends, you can take a canvas and paint in different colours almost instantly. Here (featured photo) the canvas has a lion trying to get a bite of Chapter 7 Blended Scotch 1993 :)

To cut short, I don't compare a blend with a single malt. Either of them can be better or worse. That's not the point. They are just different products and one should consider them separately. 

Back to blog