majority of Scotch Whisky produced in
Scotland is consumed in blended form.
Blended whisky is made by blending
Single Malt Whisky with Grain Whisky. The highly
skilled and complex task of creating a
marriage of Single Malt and Single Grain
whiskies to make a blended whisky, is
the responsibility of the Master
Each of the whiskies
which goes into the blend are unique in
their own right, and the Master Blender
has to ensure that the individual
whiskies combine successfully. The
Blender's aim is to produce a blended
Scotch Whisky, which is different from
others, a little more subtle, a little
more complex than the individual
whiskies which have gone into the blend.
A blend is a careful combination of anything from
15 to 50 single whiskies of varying ages, compiled to a highly secret formula. The Master Blender will have spent long years mastering and perfecting the art of "nosing".
His acute sense of smell enables him to determine which whiskies will combine successfully with others, and those which will fight. Keeping the incompatible apart is all part of the Blender's skill.
Once the Blender has selected his single whiskies, he will nose them as new spirit fresh from the stills, to ensure they are up
to the required standard. He will continue to nose them throughout maturation, until he is content that they should be taken forward.
Eventually, all of the selected whiskies are brought together, pumped into vats, and then back into casks where they will rest for a further period of up to eight months. This is known as the "marriage" - the period during which each component whisky harmonises with the others.
When a bottle of Scotch Whisky bears an age statement on the label, that is the age of the youngest whisky in the blend. It is not the average.
Upon completion of the marriage period, the whisky is ready for bottling. The Blender will nose it again, once it is reduced to the alcoholic strength required for bottling, to ensure that the quality of the blend is consistent with all the others he has produced over the years.
Once it is finally bottled, Scotch Whisky has reached the end of its long journey down the years in perfect condition, ready to be dispatched to whisky lovers around the world.