About the Whisky
A blended whisky (or whiskey) is the product of blending different types of whiskies. It is generally the product of mixing one or more single malt whiskies (made from 100 percent malted grain such as barley or rye) together with other grain whiskies or neutral grain spirits. Scotland, Ireland, and Canada are the most common countries of origin for blends. A mix of single malts only, without grain whisky, is called a vatted malt.
Most blended whiskies do not list an age. When a blended whisky does so, each individual malt and grain whisky must be at least as old as the age listed. Two of the most widely known examples of blended whisky are Johnnie Walker and Seagram's Seven Crown, but there are many others such as Jameson, Pigs Nose, Old St Andrews and Isle of Skye.
Grain whisky and other 'fillers' are usually much cheaper to produce than single malts, so blends containing them are usually much cheaper to buy. Most cocktails and mixed drinks that call for whisky use blended whisky. This is primarily for cost reasons, and secondarily because the complex flavours of single malt whiskies would be overshadowed by the mixer(s). Scotch purists generally consider blended whisky to be an inferior drink to the single malt Scotch varieties. Others might argue that blending allows for the creation of smoother or more desirable flavors, and many experts agree that top-quality blends can rival certain single-malts in overall flavor and drinking enjoyment.
Vatted / Blended malt
Vatted malt whisky—also called pure malt—is one of the less common types of Scotch: a blend of single malts from more than one distillery and with differing ages. Vatted malts contain only malt whiskies—no grain whiskies—and are usually distinguished from other types of whisky by the absence of the word ‘single’ before ‘malt’ on the bottle, and the absence of a distillery name. The age of the youngest whisky in the bottle is that used to describe the age on the label, so a vatted malt marked “8 years old” may include older whiskies.
Blended Scotch whisky constitutes over 90% of the whisky produced in Scotland. Blended Scotch whiskies generally contain 10–50% malt whisky, blended with grain whisky, with the higher quality brands having the highest percent malt. They were initially created for the English market, where pure malt whiskies were considered too harshly flavoured (the main two spirits consumed in England at the time being brandy in the upper classes, and gin in the lower ones). Master blenders combine the various malts and grain whiskies to produce a consistent "brand style". Blended whiskies frequently use the same name for a range of whiskies at wildly varying prices and (presumably) quality. Notable blended Scotch whisky brands include Dewar's, Johnnie Walker, Cutty Sark, J&B, The Famous Grouse, and Chivas Regal.