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Issue 59 - The perfect marriage

Whisky Magazine Issue 59
October 2006


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The perfect marriage

Blending is about combining ingredients that stand the test of time,Rob Allanson finds out more

They say it's a little like conducting a symphony orchestra, when it all comes together you can be swept off your feet.

The art of the blender has always been a fascinating one, how you keep some of the world's most recognisable brands tasting the same time after time.

With a blend consisting of anything from 15 to 50 different single whiskies, blending is a considerable skill acquired only after years of experience. Most blenders will keep their successful formulae a close secret.

On the face of it, the art is a simple one. Mix together a series of grains and malts to make a new, interesting whisky.

However when you get deeper in to it things becomes a little more complex.

Whiskies from different distilleries have a character of their own and, just as people of different temperaments are often incompatible, so some whiskies will not blend happily with certain others.

The various malts and grains must be blended to complement each other and enhance the overall taste, and this is where it gets a little tricky.

There are really two main aims for the blender. First is to produce a whisky of definite and recognisable character, and not deviate from this standard. The second is to achieve consistency.

One of the most important decisions the blender has to make is when the different single whiskies are ready to be used in his blend.

They will be brought from the warehouse where they have been maturing to the blending room, then mixed together in a blending vat.

They are u...

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