Good morning, afternoon, and evening to the lovely single malt Scotch whisky! No matter where you are in the world, it’s always a good time to learn more about this spirit. Let’s get up close and personal with this favorite right now.
What Is Single Malt Scotch Whisky?
Welcome again to the malt whisky family, which happens to be the “OG” of Scotland. Today, we’re examining what it means to be a single malt Scotch. As you’ll learn with many of our articles, single often refers to where the liquor is made. In this case, single malt whisky is made in an individual distillery. Single malt Scotch whisky is also made using a single malted grain.
How Single Malt Scotch Differs from Blended Malt Scotch
So, yes. There’s a simple but big difference in this case. Blended malt Scotch is exactly what it sounds like. It’s multiple blended malt whiskies, but it’s coming together from multiple distilleries, too.
Plot Twist: The Single Malt Is Typically a Blend
Even though single malt Scotch whisky is not “blended,” it’s still a blend. This fact surprises a lot of folks. Allow us to explain.
One of our favorite bottles is the Glenlivet 18 Year. It’s a single malt Scotch every day of the week. But y’all, it’s a blend. So here’s why it’s still considered “single malt Scotch.”
Glenlivet Distillery is the single place where all the magic happens. But these bottles in our liquor stores are crafted with blends of Glenlivet whisky. Every addition to the blend comes from a barrel that has been aged at least 18 years. And each barrel was distilled from a single malted grain: barley.
So, with the single malted grain and single distillery behind the scenes, you have single malt Scotch whisky on your hands. And the blending actually helps Glenlivet develop that consistent flavor and experience we keep coming back for.
Just remember. There’s a difference between “blended” and what we’re discussing here: “blending.” Blended is a type of Scotch. Blending is a part of the single malt process.
How Does Single Malt Scotch Whisky Taste?
A lot of you probably immediately think of smoke when it comes to Scotch. But not all single malt Scotch whisky brings that huge smoke element. Islay is known for using all that glorious (in our opinion) peat in their malting process. So, yes, you’ll get a bunch of smoky punches to the mouth and nose with all that peat.
Even in peaty single malt Scotch whisky (and certainly in unpeated bottles), you’ll meet with other notes. It depends on the casks. For instance, you might find distillers going for sherry or bourbon barrels. So, you might find hints of fruit and caramel.
Single Malt Scotch Coloring
Speaking of caramel… Caramel coloring can be used in this process. It’s legal, and the coloring helps maintain consistency in appearance. Some say it affects flavor. Others shrug and claim they can’t tell a difference. You may hate the idea of coloring, or it may not faze you in the least.
One thing you can count on: if a distillery doesn’t use coloring, they will let you know. It’s something they’re proud of. You’ll definitely hear about it.
So many factors, really. With rum barrels for aging, you could taste molasses. You’ll hear some people praise the earthy, smoky joy of peat. Some will claim that peat is straight acid that sets your entire face and brain aflame. These people lean on the non-peaty Scotch pleasures. Depending on the bottle, you could savor spice, vanilla, salt, butterscotch, or mixed berries.
Remember: It’ll all taste better in our whiskey glasses. This is a proven, scientific fact. We’ve conducted super legit, in-house research. Drink in style and luxury for a better drinking experience.
A Single Malt Journey
Our tip? Try them. As many single malts Scotch pours as you can. Head out to your local bars and restaurants to explore and discover what you dig!
Share your favorite single malt Scotch whisky in the comments below. If you love it, we want to be sure we’ve tried it ourselves!