Here are some things you need to know about blended whisky
Single malt whisky is good, but some whisky enthusiasts find it too straightforward that they prefer its blended version.
The best thing about blended whisky is it puts a variety of flavors and aromas at the forefront, and then crafts them in a different, wonderful light. I’m talking about the likes of Ballantine’s, Johnnie Walker, and Chivas Regal, which have all become significantly popular for such.
As they say, marrying spirits into one drink is an art in itself. It can be quite complicated for starters, but once you understand its delicate twists and turns, the process can be easy-peasy. Scratch that—you can even have your own way. That’s what I’ve learned from a free virtual blend session with Chivas Regal’s brand ambassador Matt Parry.
The spirits carry individual characteristics that make them shine in their own ways: floral, which can act as a versatile base; fruity, which gives off a touch of sweetness; citrus, which infuses an ample amount of zing; creamy, which provides an indulgent, velvety finish; and smoky, which “packs a serious punch as it comes from the peat fires used to dry the barley.” Before anything else, it’s important to figure out the ones that appeal the most to you.
Since I like my whisky with a light wisp of smoke, I combined 2.5ml smoky with 5ml creamy, 15ml citrus, 5ml fruity, and 22.5ml floral in a glass beaker for my signature blend, as advised on the blending website. After that, I put my senses of taste and smell to work and adjusted the flavors according to my liking.
This was where the complexities started presenting themselves. It was very much like cooking or mixing paint—activities that seem simple in the beginning, but turn out to be extremely tricky. I had to be very particular with the amount of each element to avoid screw-ups. After doing so little by little, I was happy with the outcome. It turned out rich and decadent, with subtle hints of smoke and zest.
Is there a right way to drink whisky? Well, it’s more of a personal choice. Take it from another master blender Sandy Hyslop. “People should experiment with how they drink whisky to find their perfect serve: with different amounts of water, different amounts of ice, or with soda and lots of crushed ice.”
“The great thing about Scotch whisky is that it’s hugely versatile and there are so many options. Don’t let anyone tell you it should only ever be drunk neat. There’s no need to limit it to one thing,” he concluded.
Photographs from Boozy.ph and Chivas Regal