Whisky Magazine Issue 121
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Can you blend it with the best
As whisky drinkers, we are all aware of the importance to Scotland of blended whisky. It is the bedrock of the business, making up somewhere in the region of 90% of all Scotch sales worldwide and without it the category would have run into trouble a long time ago.
From the late 1800s with the famous Pattinson crash (the over-extravagant Scotch whisky company known for giving away 500 African grey parrots trained to say “Buy Pattinson's Whisky”) through to ‘the noble experiment' of Prohibition, it was the consistency of blended Scotch which helped single malt distilleries to stay in business.
Such was the fame of the consistency and quality of blended Scotch whisky that during the early twentieth century in New York, Paris and London other more crude spirits were being made palatable through the medium of the cocktail, while Scotch was consumed simply by adding soda water; a true sign of its purity.
And herein lies the key to the Scotch blend: consistency. For the major brands today, it is the ability to create a consistent product from ever changing stocks, which puts these rock solid foundations into the industry and allows for limited edition range extensions (think of those rare Johnnie Walker's you see pop up every so often) and also the liberation of some liquid into single malts and rare single casks.
But in this journey, there is a gap and it is one that has been seized on by family owned and run distillers William Grant & Sons. Well used to conquering...