What is the difference between blended whisky and blended malt? You would be surprised at the confusion these two expressions can cause among the uninitiated! Blended whisky is a mix of grain whisky and single malt whisky by the same distillery. Blended malt is a blend of two or more single malts by different distilleries. The important thing to note is that there is no grain whisky used in the production of blended malt; this is the key to understanding the difference! Examples of excellent blended malts include The Compass Box range, Peat Monster and Sheep Dip.
Blended malt used to be known as either pure malt (which is equally confusing!) or vatted malt. Vatted malt refers to the process of the individual single malts being blended together in a vat. The SWA (Scotch Whisky Association) has outlawed both of these terms despite a huge backlash from the whisky community who, unsurprisingly, think the new classification is too easily confused with blended whisky.
Despite all the fuss, it is still a Scotch and has to abide by the regulations that govern this historic form of whisky. First and foremost, it must be created in Scotland and be made from malted barley, water and yeast. These ingredients are distilled in copper pot stills, thereby conforming to the rule that states Scotch is made in a batch process. The liquid then has to be aged for a minimum of three years in Oak casks and bottled at 40% ABV or higher.