Interesting concept. I've decided that I need to explore this thinking. I realize that blends are considered the poor cousins on this forum. But comming from J. Murray, well...any thoughts???
PS - He's talking about scotch blends...
Personally I don't like grain whiskies, which in turn means I don't like blends due to their mostly grain content. All a matter of personal taste
And I don't rate Jim Murray anyway
However if you have a bottling of all malts from different distilleries this has generally got to be called a blend and you have a bottling from a single distillery which is a blending of a wide variety of different casks(which can be quite different from each other) this is called a single malt but which is better?????
People will naturally conclude that the single malt is better but there only reason for saying so is the single malt tag on the bottle and I still think people do not really understand that tag. Therefore they are being totally fooled by the single malt tag.
And sorry but I have to refuse to believe that the majority of single malt drinkers can distinguish grain whisky in a quality blend on a blind tasting. Of course you need to weed out out the many blends that are very much grain based but people also need to have a more open mind to quality blends (even if they contain grain) which need not be the most expensive either.
Basically people need to understand blending as a skill and how well the blender does his job, whether he is blending a single malt or a so called blend. People need try and forget single malt as the being the best (eventhough it is easier to know what your geting) and give blends the respect they deserve.
I know it is easier said than done and I get just as biased by single malts as any one else when it comes to scotch but in Ireland the blend is King and you have more superior Irish blends than Irish Single malts...
To me a true Single Malt should be a Single Cask offering... everything else is a blend (I await the howls of derision )
I also must add that I think people are missing the 'big picture' by not drinking and appreciating blends, they can be very enjoyable. As an added bonus in the warm weather you can add some ICE without feeling guilty about have committed a major sin.
Frodo wrote:Aidan wrote:Blends don't help you understand malts. What does understanding malts mean anyway?
But the question really is - does understanding blends help one understand whisk(e)y?
But what's there to understand about whiskey? I can't imagine going to a restaurant and the waiter saying "did you enjoy your steak" and replying "no, because I didn't understand it." There's nothing intellectual about whisky. You understand calculus or philosophy and the like, but not drinks.
If I'm wrong, I'll have to devote my life to studying the SodaStream.
I think JM's point is that there is more to whisky than single malts - and definitely more to whisky than Scotch single malts. If you want to understand whisk(e)y, then you have to understand malts, grains, blends, pot still, corn, rye, Canadian maple syrup - the whole gamut.
Even the single malt isolationists who turn their nose up at all other whiskies ought to have some [very basic] understanding of what they are rejecting and why - otherwise it would be as arbitrary as restricting oneself to the products of the Glen Company.
This begs asking the question: "Could I live with just Famous Grouse if SM were no longer offered or priced beyond my reach?"
bamber wrote:Time to get 'fizzy with the busy'.
Has anyone tried "fizzy whisky"? We tried it as an experiment when I was sooo much younger - 15, I think. First off we filled the sodstream bottle to the mark with vodka. It just about blew up. So we moderated the amount to about an inch or so - and used a whisky instead (can't remember which one) It really works
There is nothing wrong with blended whisky but there is more probability of it being poorer than SMW, purepy down to the sheer volume that is produced.
I disagree that we need to "understand" anything about whisky, blended or otherwise. What do we need to be able to do, hpwever, is to recognise certain flavours and characteristics to enable a personal judgement as to whether one whisk(e)y is preferable to another.
rthomson wrote:I can't say that I "understand" whisky. I read tasting notes in WM and elsewhere and at best pick out 1/3 of the characteristics mentioned. Still, I know what I like.
Since my lightbulb moment, I do not consider the word of so-called "experts" as an "absolute" guideline ...
Being a (very) good writer, and being genuinely interested in whisky, may lead you to writing a book about it (which is often a very good thing! don't get me wrong... I have about 70 books to prove I value that highly!) but that does not necessarily make you an expert. (it does provide good 'growing ground' though!)
My lightbulb moment was in 1994... I had been tasting and collecting whisky for almost 10 years... and a very well known whisky writer conducted a tasting in Brussels.... After the tasting, I offered him a blind sample of something I considered to be one of the benchmark whisky's at the time.... Bowmore 17yo OB.
To his credit , he was really liking it, considering it to be of very high quality. (And that was indeed the case with Bowmore 17 in the late 80-ties).... Turned out however, It was his first tasting ever of the Bowmore 17!!!!! So, that reveered whisky connoisseur, writer of several books on the subject, had never tasted Bowmore 17 before.... Now that 'revelation' rocked my boat a little, I can assure you! It was akin to hearing a renowned fysicist admit he had never heard of Einstein's Relativity Theory...
Now, at least another 10 years have past, and I hold this guy in even greater esteem than before, because he has been building and growing in the business, and last but not least, he has not 'outgrown' his audience! And he has written some books I consider to be 'modern Classics', and that show how he matured in the world of whisky. I value him greatly, and I do consider him an expert, but i'll keep remembering giving him his first sip of Bowmore 17! Made him human after all!
Afterall, the blends are also products of a special craftmanship. One shouldn't be supposed to humiliate sth. just becouse it sells huge amounts!
Blends have a great contribution to the Scotch Whisky's worldwide popularity.
By the way, do you usually sip the blends as well as malts, or do you prefer them for mixing?
That's..blends have their own place as well as others, IMO.
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