Versatile and affordable, blended scotch is a gateway for many whisky drinkers, a realible option for large crowds, and one of the most popular whisky styles worldwide. Scotch blenders work with a vast library of malt and grain whiskies to create a perfect balance of complexity and drinkability, but most start with a base, otherwise known as a heart malt.
Some are more candid about the malts that go into their blends than others. William Grant & Sons, owner of Ailsa Bay, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and Kininvie distilleries, does not disclose the heart malts contained within its Grant’s blend. However, looking at parent company portfolios can offer clues to likely constituent malts. We examined three of the most popular scotch blends, spoke to the blending teams behind them, and did our best to fill in the remaining gaps. Pour one of these blends alongside its heart malt to see if you can taste the source and inspiration.
Heart Malts: Cardhu and Clynelish
Other Malt Distilleries: Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Blair Athol, Caol Ila, Cragganmore, Dailuaine, Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Glen Elgin, Glen Ord, Glen Spey, Glendullan, Glenkinchie, Glenlossie, Inchgower, Knockando, Lagavulin, Linkwood, Oban, Mannochmore, Mortlach, Roseisle, Royal Lochnagar, Strathmill, Talisker, Teaninich
Taste them together: Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker with Cardhu 12 year old
Heart Malt: Aberfeldy
Other Malt Distilleries: Aultmore, Craigellachie, Macduff (Glen Deveron), Royal Brackla
Taste them together: Dewar’s 12 year old with Aberfeldy 12 year old
Owner: Pernod Ricard
Heart Malts: Strathisla and Longmorn
Other Malt Distilleries: Aberlour, Allt-a-Bhainne, Braeval, Dalmunach, Glen Keith, Glenburgie, Glentauchers, Glenlivet, Miltonduff, Scapa, Tormore
Taste them together: Chivas 18 year old with Longmorn 16 year old