Single Malt vs Blended Scotch
Scottish whisky variations aka “Mom, Dad, and the three kids”.
Quite often, a newcomer to the world of Scotch will find a lot of confusion in the variety of Scottish whisky variations. Blended Scotch, Single Malt, Blended Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Single Grain, and on and on.
I’ve found that the analogy I used when teaching our whisky certification courses has been extremely helpful. I stumbled onto the idea originally from Lew Bryson’s wonderful book, “Tasting Whiskey”. Buy it if you don’t already own it. No need to live a life of regret.
He had this graphic in his book:
So let’s break it down.
We’ll start with Dad and Mom. In this case Dad is “Single Malt Whisky” and Mom is “Single Grain Whisky”.
Single Malt Whisky = Whisky from one distillery made from 100% Barley
Single Grain Whisky = Whisky from one distillery made from a mix of grains
The other three categories are products of combinations of Mom and Dad. For example,
Two Dads = Blended Malt Whisky
Two Moms = Blended Grain Whisky
Dad and Mom = Scotch Whisky
Would it help if you had examples?
Two Dads = Blended Malt Whisky like many of the Compass Box variations or Monkey Shoulder
Two Moms = Blended Grain Whisky like Compass Box Great King Street series
Mom and Dad = Blended Scotch like Ballentine’s, Dewar’s, or Famous Grouse