In the world of Scotch whisky, single malts—whiskies distilled and aged at a single distillery—command the lion’s share of attention. Until the 1960s, however, single malts were created exclusively for use in blended whiskies. Even into the 1980s, when whisky drinkers said “Scotch,” they were referring to blends. Today, blends still outsell single malts by more than a 3-to-1 margin in the United States, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. But serious whisky connoisseurs tend to look down on blends, many of which are created to taste lighter, smoother, and arguably less interesting than single malts.
In recent years, producers of blends have started to up their game, using rare old malt and grain whiskies to create blends as distinctive as the best single malts. These six blended whiskies aren’t just proof that the best blends can stand alongside the finest single malts, but a reminder that blending is as demanding and rewarding an art as distilling itself.