Boy, do blended whiskies get a bad wrap.

Why? A blended whiskey is the amalgamation of many things.

If you buy an Aston Martin you probably don’t want it showing up with seats from a ’76 Volkswagon bug and an engine from a lawnmower.

And it can be true, a blended whiskey can be full of cheap tricks to drive the profit margin up.

For starters, it only has to be 20% whiskey. Let’s look at the other culprits that can be found in the rest of the 80% of a blended whiskey:

  • Coloring
  • Flavoring
  • Neutral Grain Spirit

So let’s make our own. We’re forced to start with 20% whiskey so we’ll use that as the base. From there let’s toss in 40% cheap neutral grain spirit made from a mix of corn and wheat because that was cheapest for us. Now we toss in the other 40% from the flavorings of our favorite orange soda product mixed in California mud (tap) water. But it doesn’t look like whiskey, so we’re going to add coloring to it and now you wouldn’t know the difference. Now imagine that our sludge is sitting on the shelf at your local liquor store in a fancy bottle with the words “Blended Whiskey” on it.

First Set of Whiskey Laws

Second Set of Whiskey Laws

Third Set of Whiskey Laws

Fourth Set of Whiskey Laws

Fifth Set of Whiskey Laws

Bad wrap achieved.

But hold on.

Next to that “Blended Whiskey” bottle with a $14.99 price tag on it is another “Blended Whiskey” with a $149.99 price tag on it. What could this be? More shenanigans?

What if that Aston Martin showed up with seats from a BMW E46 3 series and a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren engine? Do we have your intrigued?

Epochs ago, Scotland changed their whisky laws to allow for malt and grain whiskys to be combined. All of the sudden, your local grocer could take a shot at throwing some of his typical whisky products together into a mix that no other grocer could reproduce. Lots of grocers failed at this. But there were a few (does the name John Walker rrrr-ring a bell?) that took a life of whisky accumen, a sensitive palate, and a googalian memory (that’s CWG’s own adjective form of “Google”) and mastered the craft of mixing whiskies to innovate new expressions that were better than the sum of their parts. Legend has it that George Ballantine could take any three bottles of Scotch and serve you a whisky better than any of those could stand on their own (even if it meant leaving one of them out completely).

But enough of Scotland, here we are in the wild west with our whiskey guns a-blazin’. There’s a wider range of wooden barrels, humidity, elevation, and farmland than John Walker could’ve ever expected whiskey to be impacted by. But the challenge and success that can be had through mixing whiskey, even within a single distillery, is the heralding vanguard to a new era in whiskey drinking in the United States.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][ess_grid alias=”blended-whiskey”][/vc_column][/vc_row]