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Quantity of Malt in Blends

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Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby Onefortheditch » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:16 am

Does anyone know how much malt is put in standard, deluxe, premium, etc., blends? Or is it an industry secret?
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby corbuso » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:58 pm

This is a secret, but some brands mentioned their minimum malt content, e.g. BNJ, Teachers or Black Bull
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby Ganga » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:47 am

And it is clear that the ration of malt to grain has decreased over time.
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby Onefortheditch » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:07 pm

I had a conversation with someone who was rather drunk and worked in the industry and he led me to believe there was more than I thought - up to a quarter in fact for the very best blends. He fell asleep before he could tell me more. Seems a lot and he was probably pulling my leg. Has anyone every experimented with mixing small amounts of malt whisky and grain whisky in order to make a premium blend? For example Strathisla with a grain to try to replicate Chivas?
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby AdamMY » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:50 am

Granted I do not remember where I read this, so I basically have no source to back this up, but I thought say 30+ years ago it was not uncommon to have 60-70% if not more Malt whisky in a blend. While I have heard and likely do believe that the level of malt has been dropping as there has become a larger and larger demand for Single Malt Scotch in its own right, I would personally be shocked if it was below 25% for all but the very very budget blends.
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby Onefortheditch » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:39 pm

I heard some blending info from John Glaser of Compass Box last night. He used to work for Johnny Walker. Cheap blends have about 10% malt whisky. Premium blends have 30% to 40% malt whisky. The Compass Box blend "Great King St" has 50% malt whisky.
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby Willie JJ » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm

Ganga wrote:And it is clear that the ration of malt to grain has decreased over time.

Evidence?
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby corbuso » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:30 pm

I don't think that the malt content has clearly dropped over time for a given brand.
This might have occured with some brands, but not all (e.g. Haig's),since their flavor profile has not changed much over time. If you reduce the malt content significantly and taste it head-to-head between an old and a recent bottling, you should detect it.

However, there has been a trend from the 30s for some lighter whiskies with a low malt content (e.g. Cutty Sark).

In order to address the question of malt/grain ratio, comparing the ratio of malt vs grain over a certain period of time (e.g., 1980 vs 2000) could give some more "hard evidences" (or absence of )
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby AdamMY » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:06 am

Onefortheditch wrote:I heard some blending info from John Glaser of Compass Box last night. He used to work for Johnny Walker. Cheap blends have about 10% malt whisky. Premium blends have 30% to 40% malt whisky. The Compass Box blend "Great King St" has 50% malt whisky.



Because different people have different definitions, what is the distinction between cheap and premium?
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby bredman » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:25 pm

I would expect a premium blend to be around 50/50. I was told on the Irish forum that the Bushmills 1608 Anniversary blend was rumoured to be just 5% grain.
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby Onefortheditch » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:09 pm

AdamMY wrote:
Onefortheditch wrote:I heard some blending info from John Glaser of Compass Box last night. He used to work for Johnny Walker. Cheap blends have about 10% malt whisky. Premium blends have 30% to 40% malt whisky. The Compass Box blend "Great King St" has 50% malt whisky.



Because different people have different definitions, what is the distinction between cheap and premium?


John Glaser defined cheap blends as those that cost about £10 in a supermarket where the cask had been used 6 times so that the wood imparted very little flavour. He never defined premium, but I took this to mean Johnny Walker, Chivas Regal etc
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby AdamMY » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:43 pm

Onefortheditch wrote:
AdamMY wrote:

Because different people have different definitions, what is the distinction between cheap and premium?


John Glaser defined cheap blends as those that cost about £10 in a supermarket where the cask had been used 6 times so that the wood imparted very little flavour. He never defined premium, but I took this to mean Johnny Walker, Chivas Regal etc


Alright that makes a bit more sense. I guess I was most unsure about say the basic offerings of some of the larger brands say Chivas Regal 12, or Johnny Walker Red, which are still in the range of more easily affordable, but come from better known brands.
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby corbuso » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:35 am

bredman wrote:I would expect a premium blend to be around 50/50. I was told on the Irish forum that the Bushmills 1608 Anniversary blend was rumoured to be just 5% grain.

If you look in the literature, the values given are around 25% malt for the premium whiskies (e.g., Chivas regal) and around 10% for the standard blends.
Of note, this is an average, some might have more but some less...
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Re: Quantity of Malt in Blends

Postby Douglas » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:20 pm

When Peter Currie was at Springbank he answered a related question about the Campbeltown Loch 21, 25, and 30yo blends from a few years ago. The 25 was a great whisky and knocked most single malts into a cocked hat imo. The 30s were noticeably lighter but still very enjoyable. All of them were terrific value for money.

Peter said:

"Campbeltown Loch 25 (released 2002/03) is roughly 90% malt and 10% grain.
Campbeltown Loch 21 (released 04/05) is 60% malt and 40% grain.
Campbeltown Loch 30 (released 08/09) is 30% malt and 70% grain.

The grain used for the 30 year old was 1979 Girvan (13th October to be precise). I think the other two used Strathclyde grain."
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