Mixing like a Pro: Tricks of Blending Whisky
By definition, blended whisky contains both grain and single malt in varying proportions. The malt content varies from 10 to 40 percent. It takes years of experience to perfect the art of blending whisky. One should be careful while combining the grain and malt whiskies as each distillery’s Single Malt whisky has a character of its own which may not marry well with another flavor.
Did you know that the process of blending was introduced by Andrew Usher in Edinburgh in 1860? Blended whisky accounts for 90 percent of the total volume of Scotch whisky. Let’s look at some factors which we need to bear in mind during the process of blending:
1. Think of the grain whiskies as a “neutral canvas” to which you add the colours and single malts. Islay malts impart a rich, spicy and lingering peat while Speyside malts are known for their freshness and rich sherry characteristics.
2. One challenge in the process of blending is to achieve consistency and produce a whisky with definite character.
3. You may either choose to cask the whiskeys allowing them to “blend” for a period of months which enhances the flavor or you could combine both together just before bottling. At each stage of the process reevaluate and monitor the components which are being used.
4. While blending whiskies remember that “less is more”. If you try blending different varieties of whisky they will all be screaming for attention. Use few selected ones and give them a chance to shine together.
5. Make sure that you use peaty whiskies in moderation as they can easily overpower a blend.
6. Blending requires time. Be prepared to leave your blend undisturbed for at least few months.
While blending, three aspects which you must focus on are the nose, palate, and finish. If you plan on learning the art of whiskey blending, you can look forward to a fun-filled and informative expedition as you create a magical concoction.