AN EXCELLENT CHANGE: BLENDED MALTS
Blended malts are, as the name suggests, a combination of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies – unlike blends, there’s no grain whisky here. Instead, you have some of the most innovative Scotch whiskies around, from Islay-influenced smoke and seaweed to the typical Speyside character of rich, spiced fruit.
These whiskies are big business in Taiwan, which remains by far the world’s biggest blended malt market. There’s no limit to the number of single malts you can use in a blended malt: while Monkey Shoulder combines only three, Wemyss The Hive is made up of no fewer than 16, many of them from Speyside. You might think you’re firmly rooted in Islay when tasting Peat Monster from Compass Box – but peated Speysider Ardmore is a crucial part of the mix. A very large percentage of these expressions are NAS.
Here is my order of priority. The Odyssey is far too expensive to buy, but a dram every couple of months is acceptable.
- Islay Pillaged Malt 2003, with SM whisky from Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Laphroaig distilleries, bottled at Bruichladdich.
- Buchanan & Co's Strathconon 12 Year Old
- Ardbeg Serendipity NAS, marketed by Glenmorangie
- Chivas Regal Ultis NAS, with SMs from Allt a'Bhainne, Braeval, Longmorn, Strathisla and Tormore
- Johnnie Walker Island Green Label NAS
- Cardhow (Cardhu) 12 YO, run entirely by women. Production stopped in 2009
- Bowmore 12 YO Blended Malt Whisky
- Bell's 12 YO using SMs mainly from Blair Athol, Caol Ila and Glenkinchie
- Clan Denny, both versions, Sweetly Spiced and Heavily Peated
- Johnnie Walker Green Label 16 YO
- Famous Grouse Vintage Malt Whisky 1987
- Wemyss Peat Chimney 46% ABV with Islay Malts
- Angel's Nectar Rich Peat Edition with Highland Malts, NAS 46% ABV
- Highland Journey NAS from Hunter Laing 46.2% ABV Highland Malts
- Poit Dhubh 12 YO Uisge Beatha Albannach. An 8 YO is also available
- J & B Exception 12 YO using Speyside Malts
- Big Peat 54.6% ABV NAS, an all Islay BM with whiskies from Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila and Port Ellen
- Shackleton's Discovery NAS 47.3% ABV
- Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza NAS
- Glenleven 12 Year Old
- William Grant Ghosted Reserve 26 YO 42% ABV
- Compass Box The Peat Monster NAS 46% ABV
- Monkey Shoulder NAS with SMs from Kininvie, Glenfiddich and Balvenie
- Berry Bros & Rudd's Blue Hanger 11th Release NAS 45.6%
- Smokey Joe Islay Blended Malt Whisky NAS 46% ABV
- Sheep Dip 8 YO with 16 SMs from Whyte & Mackay