What is blended scotch whisky?

How blends are made

Blended Scotch Whisky is a mix of different whiskies, combined to create a consistent flavour. Careful blending is a skill that’s as much an art as a science. Our Master Blenders have incredible knowledge of all whisky types. It means they can continue the journey our founder John Walker started 200 years ago to unlock the world's boldest flavours. Here’s how they create our signature blends.

Making blended Scotch begins much the same way as any single grain whisky.

It starts with malting – adding hot water to the grain to convert the starch to sugars. Once it’s ready, the cereal is dried in a kiln – sometimes with peat, which adds smokiness. Then it’s time to ground the grain, extract those all-important sugars with hot water and get ready for fermentation. Adding yeast brews a kind of beer, which is distilled twice in a large copper container called a still. This intensifies the flavour.

It’s then transferred to oak casks to mature for the minimum three years. These casks play a huge role in the whisky’s flavour. They’ve usually already held bourbon, sometimes sherry or even wine or beer. Once cleaned, the barrels are toasted, which opens up the wood fibres to add flavour and colour.

Blended
whiskies have a
unique breadth
of smooth
flavours
to explore

So what is the difference between Single Malt Whisky and Blended Scotch? Blends combine different types of whisky to produce a Scotch with a wider range of flavours that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. When making a Single Malt Whisky, the goal is to create something typical of that single distillery’s style. Comparing the two different kinds doesn’t really make sense – they’re not meant to be the same. It’s down to whichever flavours and style you prefer. After all, in order to be called Scotch, whiskies must be matured in Scotland. So no matter if they’re blended or a single malt, there are strict standards in place for both.

Blending whisky takes passion, creativity and vision.

Something our small team of expert blenders have in abundance. They’re led by Johnnie Walker’s Master Blender Jim Beveridge, who can call upon our unrivalled stocks of 10 million casks of Single Grain and Single Malt Scotch Whiskies. He knows the character of each one – from the ingredients used, to the treatment of the casks – and also how they react when combined. But creating an exceptional blend is more than just a comprehensive knowledge. It’s an art form. 

Our whisky blenders build structure, form and meaning into every sip. And more than that, they reproduce that same quality and flavour time and again, so the standard of our whisky never changes. With one eye on the past and the other on the future, our team continues to create the much loved whiskies of today, while continually exploring, testing and formulating new varieties.