Know the Difference Between Single Malt Scotch and Blended Scotch

5 min read
20 January 2023

You may be curious about the difference between single-malt Scotch and blended Scotch. Both  

are made from whisky, but they are made differently and have different flavours.

Single malt Scotches are distilled from a single batch of malted barley, while blended Scotch

whiskies are made from different single malts. Blended Scotch usually has a smoother flavour

than Single Malt Scotch.

If you want something peaty and smoky, go with a Single Malt Scotch. If you want something

more mellow, try a Blended Scotch.

What Differentiates Single Malt from Blended Scotch?

The Process

Several key steps go into making a high-quality Single Malt Scotch. First, the barley must be

malted. This process begins by soaking the barley in water for several days, allowing it to

germinate. Once the germ has sprouted, the barley is dried in a kiln. After the barley is dried, it

is ground into a coarse flour called “grist.”

The grist is mixed with hot water to create a “mash.” This mash is left to ferment for several

days while the sugars in the mash convert into alcohol. Once the fermentation process is

complete, the mash is distilled twice.

The first distillation produces a liquid called “low wines,” which is then distilled a second time to

produce the final product, “single malt scotch.” Single Malt Scotch must be aged in oak barrels

for a minimum of three years, though most Scotches are aged for much longer.

The length of time the Scotch is aged will have a significant impact on its flavour. After the

Single Malt Scotch has been sufficiently aged, it is bottled and ready to be enjoyed. The final

product is a smooth, complex spirit that is truly unique. Single Malt Scotch is the highest quality

scotch available and is prized by connoisseurs worldwide.


Regarding Scotch, Single Malt is often seen as the gold standard. But what exactly is Single

Malt Scotch, and how does it differ from blended Scotch? Single Malt Scotch is made using

100% malted barley.

The barley is milled and then mixed with water to create a mash. The mash is fermented with

yeast to create a beer-like liquid known as ‘wort’. The wort is then distilled to create the final


Blended Scotch, on the other hand, is made by blending multiple malts and grain whiskies. This

results in a smoother, more consistent flavour profile. So, what does all of this mean for the


Single Malt Scotches tend to be more complex and full-bodied, with a greater range of flavours.

Blended Scotches are typically lighter and more approachable. Of course, there are always

exceptions to the rule.


The colour of Single Malt Scotch Whisky can vary depending on the type of cask used for aging.

The most common cask used is the bourbon cask, which imparts a golden hue to the whisky.

Other casks, such as sherry, can give the whisky a darker colour. The whisky's colour does not

affect the flavour, but it can be an important factor in the visual appeal of the finished product.

In general, Single Malt Scotch aged in bourbon casks will have a lighter colour, while those

aged in sherry casks will be darker. Some producers may use a combination of different types

of casks to achieve the desired colour. Whiskies labelled as “single malt” must be made from

100% malted barley.

The malt is milled and then mashed with hot water to extract the sugars. The sugary liquid, wort,

is fermented with yeast to produce alcohol. After fermentation, the wash is distilled in a pot still.

The resulting liquid, called “low wines,” is then transferred to a second still for a second

distillation. This process removes impurities and produces the “spirit,” which is then transferred

to casks for aging.

The length of time that the spirit is aged in the casks will also influence the final colour of the

whisky. Younger whiskies tend to be lighter in colour, while older whiskies will be darker. The

type of cask used for aging also plays a role in the whisky's colour.

Which is Better?

Many Scotch drinkers will tell you there is no comparison between Single Malt Scotch and

Blended Scotch. They will say that single malt is the only way to go and that anything else is not

worth drinking.

While it is true that single malts tend to be of a higher quality than the blended version, the fact

is that there are some very good Blended Scotches out there. It depends on your preferences

as to which type of Scotch you prefer. If you are new to drinking Scotch, you may want to start

with Blended Scotch.

It all comes down to personal preference when choosing your favourite dram. Some people will

always prefer Single Malt Scotch, while others may like both equally. The best way to find out is

to keep sipping and figure out which one you like better!

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Umar Farooq 2
Joined: 1 year ago
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