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Single Malt Whiskey
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All about single malt whiskey
What exactly is single malt whiskey?
Let's put it simply: single malt whiskey is entirely the product of a single distillery. It doesn't have to contain malt from a single batch — this is a common misconception. Instead, a single malt spirit can contain a blend of malts of different ages.
Whiskeys from different distilleries have distinct characteristics and flavor notes. True connoisseurs may recognize the distillery where the spirit comes from, based on each single malt whiskey's special flavor profile.
Single malt varieties age for different lengths of time. Most 8-year-old whiskeys are common as blends, but you'll also find some quality single malt varieties. Older whiskeys, typically aged in oak barrels, have enough time to develop a complex flavor, for real connoisseurs. Lastly, 15-year-old whiskeys are a treat you don't want to miss, especially on special occasions. Most distilleries produce one.
Single malt vs. blended whiskeys
Blended whiskey is the result of combining malt or grain types from different distilleries. In comparison with single malt varieties, blended whiskeys tend to have a less distinct flavor. This means that you'll likely struggle to recognize your favorite blended variety among others in a blind tasting.
However, this makes blinded tastings even more fun. If you want to beat your friends at a "Guess the Whiskey Variety" game, you'll probably choose a blended one for them to taste.
In addition, blended whiskeys can have more complex, balanced flavor profiles. Think, for example, of blended bourbons and their multiple flavor notes. Most whiskey bottles on the market are blends, so there's definitely a market for them.
Where does this liquor come from?
The main producer of single malt Scotch whiskies is Scotland, where distilleries have been crafting these aromatic spirits for centuries. However, the U.S. joined the trend in recent times, with countless distilleries creating their own versions of the Scottish beverage. American whiskeys won several awards, attracting attention from both spirit experts and casual drinkers.