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Fib Friday #3: Single Malt is Best


For this #FibFriday, let’s take a look at something Fib won’t actually do anyway, but which we consider very important to whisky. Some people will tell you – ‘I only drink single malt’ or ‘single malt is best’, or even say ‘all blends are cheap rubbish’. Well, let’s debunk this one quickly - single malt Scotch has purposely been marketed to have a premium reputation. That doesn’t mean there aren’t also incredible whiskies out that using a different methodology. Each dram tastes different, and we highly recommend you try whatever you can!


First and foremost, it’s important to know that there are actually 5 categories of Scotch whisky - single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain, and blended whiskies. Single malt must be distilled in a copper pot still from a base wash comprised of only malted barley, yeast and water. It must come from a single distillery. It must have been aged in wood, in the case of Scotch whisky in only oak barrels up to a certain volume that are either fresh or have held something traditional for the industry, for a minimum of 3 years. The majority of countries, following the Scotch model, adopt protections for the category of whisky also at 3 years minimum ageing, but a few countries with hotter climates have set the legislation so that they can label spirits as whisky slightly younger, e.g. in the case of Australia after ageing for only 2 years. It’s important to note the definition of single malt has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the number of barrels used - just that the whisky was produced at a single distillery and is made from malted barley as the only grain. Love that Talisker 10 but look down on blends and blending? Well, your favourite dram probably wouldn’t exist without the fine touch of a master blender - any distillery with a core range, each and every whisky they do will be a group of any number of casks blended together to create that desired flavour, with the master blender’s job being to ensure a standard product and taste each and every time.

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