Blended Whiskies are exactly what they say they are, a blend or two or more, and sometimes up to 40 or 50 different whiskies to create a standard flavour which is then massed produced.
Blends often incorporate Grain whisky and will tell you on the bottle just what ratio is malt to blend, several blends however are pure malts and well worth a look. Grains are mass produced, in fact the handful of Grain producers in Scotland make more whisky than all the Malt Distilleries put together.
To be called a Scotch Whisky, the product needs to be in an oak barrel for a minimum of 3 years, after this it’s all down to the producer to determine when is best to bottle up. The cheaper blended whiskies say Famous Grouse will offer a blend of mostly grain whisky with younger malts, certainly under 8 years, this mixture then has water added (all whisky must also be at least 40% abv to be called Scotch) to make it 40% abv, this produces a very even taste, nothing exciting and with no real complexity of flavour, fine for mixing and you should probably always keep a blend in the cabinet so you don’t use up your fine malts in one session.
There are however better blends, some use only malts, these whiskies such as the Bailie Nicol Jarvie (my personal favorite) will stipulate how old the malts are and where they’re from, these whiskies will give a much more in depth taste, any will have you trying to decipher where all the different tastes are coming from.
Some Blends are very expensive indeed, but don’t be fooled into thinking they are worth the money, The legendary Johnny Walker Blue Label has some malts which are 40 plus years old added, so you’re paying for rarity which does not equate to quality in the world of whisky.
I’m keeping these little titbits short and sweet, hopefully I’m giving you a few pointers and helping you decide what to go for, enjoy.