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What is Blended Scotch Whisky?

Understanding Scotland's Blended Whiskies

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Ardbeg and other scotch whisky barrels stacked at the Bunnahabhain distillery on the isle of Islay.

Ardbeg and other scotch whisky barrels stacked at the Bunnahabhain distillery on the isle of Islay.

Matt Gibson / Moment / Getty Images

The differences between blended scotch whisky and single malt scotch whiskies can often be confusing. Here is an easy primer on what makes blended scotch whisky unique and different than single malt scotch whisky.

Blended Scotch whiskies are a combination of single malt scotches from different distilleries in Scotland that are blended together with grain whiskies. Each whisky blending house will have a master blender whose job it is to ensure that the blend tastes exactly the same from year to year, even if the supplies of one of the whiskies in the blend may not be available or the distillery may not have produced enough.

Blended Scotch whiskies may contain 20, 30 or even more than 40 single malts from different distilleries around Scotland blended with lighter grain whisky. Blended Scotch whisky accounts for 90% of the Scotch whisky consumed in the world, making it by far the preferred style of Scotch whisky for most consumers.

Famous brands of blended scotch whisky include Johnnie Walker, Grant's, Ballantine's, Famous Grouse and Chivas Regal.

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