Blended Scotch is a mix of different whiskies, combined to create a consistent flavour. It’s the product of careful blending – a skill considered to be both an art and a science. Our Master Blenders require in-depth expertise of all whisky types so they can uphold the Johnnie Walker reputation for excellence that stretches back nearly two centuries – to the very first blends created by John Walker himself.
Making Blended Scotch begins much the same way as making any Single Grain Whisky. It starts with adding hot water to the grain, converting the starch into soluble sugars. This is called malting. Once it’s good and ready, the cereal is dried in a kiln – sometimes with peat, which at Johnnie Walker we use to create our signature smoky finish.
The grain is ground in a mill and mixed with hot water, to extract those all-important sugars. The hot, sweet liquid is then drawn off, cooled and made ready for the next step: fermentation. The addition of yeast brews a kind of beer, which is distilled twice in a large copper container, to increase the concentration of alcohol and intensify the taste. We call these containers ‘stills’ and the more the liquid touches the side of the copper still, the greater the impact on the flavour.
Finally, the product is transferred to oak casks in order to mature for a minimum of three years. These casks play a hugely important role in regards to the flavour of the finished whisky. According to experts, an estimated 40-70% of the flavour comes from the oak-aging process and barrel itself.
A large proportion of the casks used have previously held bourbon, sometimes sherry, more unusually wine or even beer. Once cleaned, the barrels are toasted before being filled – which opens up the fibres of the wood to give both flavour and colour to the whisky.
All this needs to happen before the whisky can legally be called Scotch.
Learn more about How Whisky Is Made.
When making a Blended Scotch, the intention is to create a liquid that combines different types of whisky to produce a smooth, unique flavour. The result of this, is a versatile whisky that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. When making a Single Malt Whisky, the intention is to create something more singular, and typical of a single distillery’s style.
Comparing the two different kinds doesn’t really make sense – they’re not meant to be the same. In order to be called Scotch, whiskies must be matured in Scotland so with any Scotch whisky, you know that there’s a minimum standard of quality which ensures that whilst the flavours might be different – they’re never compromised.
Explore all the different types of whisky.
Today, Johnnie Walker’s Master Blender Jim Beveridge is the guardian of our extraordinary history. He is able to call upon our unrivalled stocks of 10 million casks of Single Grain Scotch Whisky and Single Malt Scotch Whisky. He has an intimate understanding of the character of each of our whiskies – from the ingredients used, to the treatment of the casks – and also how they react when combined.
Yet the creation of an exceptional blend requires something more than just a comprehensive knowledge of the landscape – something that elevates it to an experience greater than the sum of its parts. It requires passion, creativity and vision – all of which Jim Beveridge and our small team of expert blenders have in abundance. Their dedication to their craft enables them to build structure, form and meaning into every sip, like artists composing a masterpiece.
And more than that – they’re able to reproduce that same quality and flavour, time and again, so that the standard of the whisky experience never deviates. 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.