Unfolded – The Difference Between Blended Scotch, Single Malt & Bourbon Whiskey
Whisky is the choicest spirit that is savoured by millions around the world. It is a drink unlike any other. The consumption of whisky in high volumes speaks for its success. For some people whisky is an elixir that eases them after a stressful day, for others it’s a way to let their hair down or a drink for personal introspection. Nevertheless, some people consume whisky for its flavour, and of course – the high.
There are many properties of whisky that play a role in distinguishing its different types. From the raw materials, production, colour, taste, aroma, and even place of origin; everything plays a role in defining the kind of whisky. Yes, there are many different types of whisky, and no they are not at all the same.
Connoisseurs are often aware of the difference between single malt whisky, blended scotch, bourbon, and other popular whisky brands that don’t carry a fancy name. Whisky has its origins in Europe; however, it’s no doubt the spirit of the world.
Before going into the segmentation, we need to answer – what is a whisky?
Whisky is nothing but a standard term given to any distilled alcoholic spirit which is made from fermented grain mash. The grain mash can consist of barley, rye, wheat or corn and is more dependent on the distiller and the country of origin. However, malt whisky – the most commonly available whisky is made from malted barley. Distillers from around the world use different combinations of grains and malts to produce distinct type of whisky.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the difference between blended scotch, single malt and bourbon whisky.
As stated above, all whisky is made from fermented grain mash – the grains can nevertheless be any. Technically, scotch is no exception. However, a whisky is only a scotch if it’s produced in Scotland. If it’s produced outside of Scotland, a whisky cannot be called a scotch. It is mostly made from malted barley and aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years or more. The number of years stated on a bottle of scotch states its age – how long it was stored in oak barrels.
Some scotch will not even use anything other than barley, yeast and water. However, distillers are allowed to include other cereals and can also use caramel colouring. Any fermentation additive is still prohibited when making scotch.
Blended scotch, on the other hand, is a mixture of two or more Scotch whiskies bottled and sold as one. Distillers will make a whisky by blending it with other grain whiskies or barrel-aged malt. These whiskies can be sourced from different distilleries to form a blend.
Single Malt Whisky
Single malt whisky is precisely how the name suggests – a whisky originating from a single distillery. It is more expensive than blended scotch and other types of whisky. Another characteristic of single malt whisky is that it is a product of a single distillery. Unlike blended scotch that is made from different scotch from different distilleries; a single malt whisky is only made at one particular distillery. A bottle may have whiskies from different barrels, but all the barrels are a product of one distillery.
A single malt whisky can also be called as a single-grain scotch whisky only if it’s made from a mash that typically uses only one type of grain.
If scotch is from Scotland, Bourbon is from the United States. A whisky can be labelled as Bourbon only if it’s made in the United States. It must also be made from a grain mixture with at least 51% corn, malted barley, rye grain, or wheat. To top it, the mixture must always be stored in charred oak barrels. It must also not contain any additives. Bourbon also does not have any minimum ageing period.
Connoisseurs can often tell the difference between these different types of whiskies by nosing and tasting them; however, with enough experience, it is possible an enthusiast will too. Anyone who’s enthusiastic about drinking whisky should explore all the flavours. We at Hermes Distillery produce some of the best whisky brands in India. Some of them might not fit the wording as defined by European or American laws; however, it remains as one of the tastiest and smoothest whiskies in India. For instance, Rockdove is our premium whisky with an exquisite taste that can give the top-self single malts a run for their money!
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