single malt whisky

Drinking whisky is often paired with serious drinking connoisseurs and sophistication. Understanding the complex tastes and learning the difference between whiskeys can take a lot of time. Beyond understanding your basic Scotch geography and knowing what kinds of flavour profiles come from the different Scotch-producing regions, the other question that is often asked is what is the distinction between single malt and blended whiskey. In this article, we will dive in and find out the difference between single malt whisky and blended whiskies.

Related content – The Real Difference Between Whiskey and Bourbon.

What Is Single Malt Whisky?

The root cause of confusion among the masses about single malt and blended whiskeys is the word ‘Single’.  Single malt whisky is not always made from one single malt or distilled in one single barrel as you may suggest by the name. The word Single will often refer to the fact that it has been distilled in one single distillery. These whiskeys are made by marrying malts from various barrels from the same distillery to create a perfect blend of flavour and taste. There’s a common misconception that because a certain whisky is labelled “single malt,” it must be the product of just a single batch or barrel of whisky. This is incorrect. Most single malt whiskies, as you’ll see, are a blend, in the sense that they’re a mixture of whiskies from the same distillery.


  • Full character and great, earthy flavour
  • Aged for between 5 and 15 years for a fuller flavour
  • Favoured by whisky connoisseurs and often regarded as a superior liquor
  • A myriad of health benefits when consumed in moderation, aged whisky has shown particular benefits to brain health


  • Often sold at a higher price
  • A longer ageing process (up to 15 years)

What is Whisky Blend?

Blended whisky, or blends, as the name implies, are the result of the mixing of distillations from several producers of whisky and produced from a variety of malt and grain whiskeys. Malt and grain whiskies are distilled separately and after a certain minimum period which is usually three years, they are combined to form blended whiskies. The proportion of malt in blended whiskeys truly depends on the brand and thus, all blended varieties are different.


  • Diversity in flavour
  • Industrial, larger-scale production
  • More affordable than single-malt varieties due to this large-scale production and the use of different grains
  • Takes less time to age


  • A lighter, more accessible flavour that some whiskey drinkers might look down on
  • Contains cheaper grains like wheat and corn

Blended whiskies make up the majority of the market due to them being cheaper for the average consumer and represent many of the most highly respected whiskies on the planet, for decades they were the only whiskies found on supermarket shelves. It is only in the past 30 years that single malts have risen in popularity.

In the end, it really boils down to your preferred palate and intentions with the whisky. For cocktail drinkers or those who mix scotch, blended is typically the better option, while a quality single malt is ideal for the guy into smoking cigars by the fireplace. The quality, and superiority of either of the whiskeys do not have any major differences if any. All whiskies, though, impart different flavours and experiences thanks to many years of perfecting the distilling process.

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