Three types of blends for Scotch

Three types of blends Scotch whisky:
Blended Malt Scotch Whisky means a blend of two or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies from different distilleries.

Blended Grain Scotch Whisky means a blend of two or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies from different distilleries.

Blended Scotch whisky means a blend of one or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies with one or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies.


The definitions of the five types of Scotch whisky are structured in such a way that the type categories are mutually exclusive. The 2009 regulations changed the formal definition of Blended Scotch Whisky to achieve this result, but in a way that reflected traditional and current practice: before the 2009 SWR, any combination of Scotch Whiskies qualified as a Blended Scotch Whisky, including for example a blend of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.
As was the case under the Scotch Whisky Act 1988, Provision 5 of the SWR 2009 stipulates that the only whisky that may be manufactured in Scotland is Scotch whisky. The definition of manufacture is "keeping for the purpose of maturation; and keeping, or using, for the purpose of blending, except for domestic blending for domestic consumption." This provision prevents the existence of two ‘grades’ of whisky originating from Scotland, one “Scotch Whisky” and the other, a “whisky – product of Scotland” that complies with the generic EU standard for whisky. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, allowing non-Scotch whisky production in Scotland would make it difficult to protect Scotch whisky as a distinctive product.

In addition to prohibiting whisky production in Scotland other than Scotch whisky, the law forbids maturing or blending whiskies in Scotland other than Scotch whisky. This prevents descriptions such as “whisky – matured in Scotland” or “whisky – blended in Scotland” on spirits that are not Scotch whisky. The Scotch Whisky Association says this will help ensure “Scotch Whisky” remains a distinctive product.

Single grain
The majority of grain whisky produced in Scotland goes to make blended Scotch whisky. The average blended whisky is 60%–85% grain whisky. Some higher quality grain whisky from a single distillery is bottled as single grain whisky.

Blended or Vatted malt
Blended malt whisky formerly called vatted malt or pure malt (terms that are now prohibited in the SWR 2009)is one of the less common types of Scotch: a blend of single malts from more than one distillery (possibly with differing ages). Blended malts contain only malt whiskies no grain whiskies and are usually distinguished from other types of whisky by the absence of the word ‘single’ before ‘malt’ on the bottle, and the absence of a distillery name. To qualify as a Blended Malt, the mixed single malt whiskies are matured in the barrel for 1 year, after which the age of the vat is that of the youngest of the original ingredients. A blended malt marked “8 years old” may include older whiskies, with the youngest constituent being eight years old before vatting. Johnnie Walker Green is an example of a blended malt. As of November 2009, no Scotch whisky could be labeled as a vatted malt or pure malt, with Scotch Whisky Regulations requiring them to be labeled blended malt instead.


Blended
Blended Scotch whisky constitutes over 90% of the whisky produced in Scotland. Blended Scotch whiskies contain both malt whisky and grain whisky. They were initially created as an alternative to single malt whiskies, which some considered too harsh. Producers combine the various malts and grain whiskies to produce a consistent brand style. Notable blended Scotch whisky brands include Bells, Dewar's, Johnnie Walker, Whyte and Mackay, Cutty Sark, J&B, The Famous Grouse.

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