The Art Of Blended Whiskey
Blended whisky/whiskey is a great topic for discussion. At the heart of this concept, lies innovation, imagination and breaking traditional rules that define different types of whiskies. My favorite whiskies that fit this bill include all Compass Box whiskies (like Spice Tree and Hedonism).
John Glaser, Master Blender and founder of Compass Box said “Tradition is a moving target.” His dream was to create various blended scotch whiskies that could fit any palette, thereby creating his own traditions. To me this is extremely motivating and gives life to the fact that the world of whisky is so complex, so diverse that there really is no limit to what what can do.
This doesn’t mean that blended whiskies are a new concept. A common misconception is that single malts are not blended. This is not true. Some of the oldest whiskies (like Macallan and Jameson) are also blended across various barrels. Single malt just means single distillery. Whether you are drinking a modern blend or a traditional one, blended whiskies are a careful process and carefully executed to allow for consistency in taste, mouth feel and finish. (Of course, source of grain and the pH levels of the water source can also affect the taste).
Single barrel whiskies is where it is harder to control the taste and consistency because flavors are contingent on the barrel being used. This is also very cool because each barrel release is a unique product with its own story to tell. If you’re a single barrel whisky collector, this is the area to completely geek out. I know I do. But I digress.
Going back to the world of blended whiskies the other aspect I like is the art of home experimentation with infusions (with fruits and spices) and various blends at home. For example, you can take a Peat Monster which is extremely smoky and rich and mix it with another whisky like a Glenfiddich12 which is very approachable. Then you can play around with proportions to fit your palette. You never know, you might become a Master Blender yourself one day!