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Issue 59 - The best of blends

Whisky Magazine Issue 59
October 2006

 

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The best of blends

Is a passion for blends on the rise? Ian Wisniewski looks at what is being done to promote blended Scotch.

It's a strange position to be in. While blended Scotch accounts for around 90 per cent of the sales volume of Scotch whisky, malts have been far more dynamic, attaining a cult status with a devoted and incredibly knowledgeable following.

So, what's happening to promote interest in blends, and develop their appeal?

“Apart from some packaging improvements, blends had seen little innovation for many years. However in the past couple of years, products like Asyla, and more independent blends have come onto the market in relatively small batches, creating a specialist niche. Innovation is a wee bit difficult if you're doing a traditional blend, other than packaging or using different casks, so concentration on quality is the way blends should go forward,” says Keir Sword of Royal Mile Whiskies.

Meanwhile, Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange feels blends have reached a significant turning point.

“More is now being written about blends, and three years ago when Cutty Sark 25 year old won Whisky Magazine's Best of the Best a lot of people were surprised a blend could beat a malt, and our stock flew out. Alot of people came back and said ‘Wow, I'm surprised a blend could taste that good' and asked us which other blends we could recommend. I think a lot of people are going back to blends.” Whyte & Mackay's Richard Paterson highlights another trend. “People are sticking to every day blends, and drinking single malts too, though I also see people moving towards longer-...

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