To further elaborate on bredman's response...
DaleNY wrote:It can be argued these are good expressions of the distiller's spirit because you're seeing their spirit across a wide range of casks. It can also be argued that they're poor expressions of the distiller's spirit similarly as any malt's unique character is lost in any blend. I generally hold the opinion of the latter.
One of the reasons single cask whiskies are often more revered, IMHO, is because they are purer expressions the distiller's spirit, assuming the cask is good.
Thank goodness for differences of opinion when it comes to our views on what (potentially) might comprise the purest expression(s) of the distiller's spirit
And while I essentially agree with the gist of much of what DaleNY has stated, I still wish to point out where I personally diverge from his viewpoint... Specifically, I believe it's an error to automatically relegate malt whiskies that have been drawn from multiple casks to an inferior status relative to single casks malt whiskies. Why? Simply because I feel that, in certain instances, those whiskies drawn from multiple casks better reflect the true style of a distillery's make.
Let's take Highland Park as an example. Here, many of the proprietary releases are bottled from combinations of first and second-fill ex-Sherry casks. What's more, those casks may be fabricated from European and/or American oak. This variety of vessels offers the distillery personnel a palate of potential flavour influences from which to craft the final product. And this can only (once again, in my opinion) lead to a greater degree of complexity and (possibly) a better balance.
The concept of blending, whether it pertains to malt whiskies or blended Scotch whiskies, isn't simply a tool to cover up the effect(s) of inferior casks of spirit by 'drowning/hiding' their influence in a large collection of casks. It is, more importantly, a means to creating whiskies that the personnel of any site feel convincingly illustrate the true character of their distillery's whisky.
Yes, a single cask whisky is about as 'pure' a product you're likely to find. But this alone does not a 'gem' make.