The term ‘Blended Whisky’ implies a mixture or combination of two or more whiskies, although it doesn’t even begin to describe the many, many types of Blended whiskies that exist all over the world.
While the Scottish have their own interpretations and types of blended whiskies, so do their neighbours in Ireland. The Indian whisky makers have their own kind of blends, and so do the Japanese and the Canadians.
Blended whiskies and whiskeys make up a more than significant portion of the market around the world, with single malts, Scotch or otherwise, being the far more coveted, expensive and (mistakenly considered) superior type of whisky, making up only a small fragment of the worldwide whisky market.
Blended Grain Scotch whiskies are a blend of two or more single grain whiskies. The 808 Blended Grain Scotch whisky is one of the very few types of blended grain Scotch whiskies available in the market today.
The Irish distil four different types of whiskey namely; Single Malt Irish whiskey, Single Pot Still Irish whiskey, Irish Grain whiskey and Blended Irish whiskey.
Blended Irish whiskeys can contain a blend of either of three whiskeys; single malt, single pot still or grain whiskeys.
The standard Jameson Whiskey, the world’s most popular and highest selling Irish whiskey is an excellent blend of pot still, and grain whiskies.
The Bushmills Original is a blend of triple distilled malt whiskey and grain whiskey, whereas the Tullamore D. E. W. Original is a blend of triple distilled pot still and malt, and grain whiskeys.
Indian Blended whisky
Unlike Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey, Indian whiskies are blended almost entirely differently. While India does boast of some single malt whiskies such as Amrut Single Malt, Paul John Single and Rampur Single Malt, most Indian whisky blends employ imported Scottish malts instead.
Some brands such as Antiquity Blue, McDowell’s Signature and among others also contain some amount of neutral, molasses-based spirit alongside imported Scottish malts and grain whiskies.
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Some whiskies such as MaQintosh, from the house of Amrut Distilleries, is blended with single malts distilled by the company itself, with neutral molasses-based spirit to create a cheaper whisky for the price-sensitive Indian market.
The foundations of the Japanese whisky industry were laid by closely observing, and in an attempt to recreate the Scottish distilling methods. Thus, Japanese blended whiskies are very similar to blended Scotch whiskies.
Japanese single malts, and Japanese grain whiskies are blended to create blended whiskies; whereas two or more Japanese single malts are blended to create blended Malt whiskies.
The only difference between the blends from Japan and Scotland, apart from their characteristics and tasting notes are that Japanese whiskies cannot be called ‘Scotch’.
Canadian blends do not follow any rigid parameters for what is to be considered blended Canadian whisky, although most Canadian blends are a mixture of the cheaper American Corn based whisky and Rye whiskies.
On occasion, some Canadian blends also contain some amounts of wheat or barley whisky in the blend. The Crown Royal standard blend, one of the more popular Canadian whiskies, is a blend of over 50 whiskies, although the contents of this blend are unclear.
Unlike Scotland, Japan, Ireland and India, the American whiskey industry has no ‘single malts’, instead they choose to devise their own category based on legal requirements. They are known as ‘Straight Bourbon whiskey.’ The United States of America has three types of blended whiskeys that are very similar to the Scottish types of blends.
American Blended whiskey is a blend of 20% or more straight whiskey and neutral grain spirits, which is similar to Indian whisky blends.
The second type of American blended whiskey is created by blending at least 51% ‘Straight Bourbon’/ ‘Straight Rye’ whiskeys with neutral grain spirits. This type of blends are usually called ‘Blended Bourbon whiskey’ or ‘Blended Rye whiskey’, depending on the kind of base whiskey used in the blend.
The third type of American blended whiskey is very similar to blended malt whiskies in Scotland. It is a blend of two or more Straight Bourbon, or any other kind of whiskey can be called a ‘blend of straight whiskeys’. This type of whiskey must not have any neutral grain spirits as per the legal requirements.