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Top 10 Scotch Whisky Blends

Updated on June 25, 2017
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Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller; librarian; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

There is nothing quite like a wee dram at the end of the day.  Scotch whiskey has a unique complexity of flavor that is difficult to replicate.  Blends, as the word suggests, combine a variety of different whiskeys, both single malt and grain.
There is nothing quite like a wee dram at the end of the day. Scotch whiskey has a unique complexity of flavor that is difficult to replicate. Blends, as the word suggests, combine a variety of different whiskeys, both single malt and grain. | Source

Many Scotch whisky enthusiasts automatically opt for single malts without thinking of alternatives.

While I would never wish to speak negatively of single malts (I am a huge fan of them), I do think that blended Scotch whisky does have its own appeal and I can appreciate why some people consider blended Scotch to possess both complexity and less harshness.

Over 90 percent of the Scotch produced in Scotland is blended whisky. It is made up from malt whisky and grain whisky. Each of the blended Scotch whisky brands uses different combinations and recipes to create its own distinctive style.

I hope you like my top 10 list of the best blended Scotch whisky brands and find it to be useful.

Bell's Scotch Whisky barrel at the Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry.  Bell's portray themselves as the UK's most popular blend.  Established in 1825, Bell's incorporates 35 different malt and grain whiskies.
Bell's Scotch Whisky barrel at the Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry. Bell's portray themselves as the UK's most popular blend. Established in 1825, Bell's incorporates 35 different malt and grain whiskies. | Source

Bell's - Consistent Quality

Bell's claims itself to be the most popular brand of Scotch whisky in the UK.

Established in 1825, the company's official slogan is "Afore ye go".

Bell's whisky uses a blend of 35 different malt and grain whiskies, each of which is matured between 5 and 12 years.

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisky is barely enough.”

— Mark Twain
A bottle of Teacher's Highland Cream.  William Teacher began selling his whisky not long after the "Excise Act" came into being in 1830.  Almost half this scotch consists of malt, with Ardmore being the one present in the largest amount.
A bottle of Teacher's Highland Cream. William Teacher began selling his whisky not long after the "Excise Act" came into being in 1830. Almost half this scotch consists of malt, with Ardmore being the one present in the largest amount. | Source

Teacher's Highland Cream - Complex Blend With Body

William Teacher began selling his whisky in 1830, shortly after the new "Excise Act" was introduced.

Teacher's uses more than 45% single malt, with Ardmore being the main one, although there are over 30 single malts used in total.

“There is no bad whisky. There are only some whiskys that aren’t as good as others.”

— Raymond Chandler
Bottle of J&B Scotch.  The second most popular in the world, J&B incorporates Speyside single malt whiskies in its blend.  The J&B company was started in London in 1749, providing fine wine and spirits to the upper classes.
Bottle of J&B Scotch. The second most popular in the world, J&B incorporates Speyside single malt whiskies in its blend. The J&B company was started in London in 1749, providing fine wine and spirits to the upper classes. | Source

J&B - Balanced and Satisfying

The J&B company began life in London in 1749, where they delivered fine wine and spirits to aristocrats and royalty.

J&B's products include J&B Reserve 15-year-old, and Jet 12-year-old (their J&B Select and Ultima were discontinued).

J&B whisky is the second most popular in the world and uses Speyside single malt whiskies.

“Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whisky makes it go round twice as fast.”

— Compton MacKenzie
Cutty Sark Whisky.  This is a paler coloured and lighter flavoured blend, made since 1923 by the Glenrothes Distillery.
Cutty Sark Whisky. This is a paler coloured and lighter flavoured blend, made since 1923 by the Glenrothes Distillery. | Source

Cutty Sark – A Lighter Flavored Blend!

This pale, light-flavored, blended Scotch whisky was created in 1923 by the Glenrothes Distillery in the Scottish region of Speyside.

It is named after a famous clipper ship, which is also pictured on the label.

Cutty Sark is generally favored by people who prefer a less boldly flavored Scotch whisky blend.

“The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.”

— Winston Churchill
Source

White Horse - Strong and Distinctive

Made in Edinburgh and first produced by James Logan Mackie in 1861, White Horse uses malts such as, Talisker, Lagavulin and Caol IlaLinkwood.

It packs a strong and distinctive taste.

“Whisky, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.”

— Haruki Murakami
The Famous Grouse, a blend with a big and rich flavour.  Production was started in 1897 by Matthew Gloag
The Famous Grouse, a blend with a big and rich flavour. Production was started in 1897 by Matthew Gloag | Source

The Famous Grouse - Big and Rich

The Famous Grouse Gold Reserve blend has a flavor that is big and rich without being crude or overbearing.

Famous Grouse was first produced in 1897 by Matthew Gloag, named after his whisky merchant grandfather who had supplied beverages for a Queen Victoria royal banquet in Perth, Scotland, back in 1842.

The brand’s emblem is a red grouse, which can be seen on the label.

“Whisky is liquid sunshine.”

— George Bernard Shaw
Bottle of Dewar's whisky.  The brand was created by John Dewar, Sr. in 1846.
Bottle of Dewar's whisky. The brand was created by John Dewar, Sr. in 1846. | Source

Dewar's - Exporting Globally Since 1846

Created in 1846 by John Dewar, Sr., the Dewar's Scotch Whisky brand began exporting globally in 1896.

There are five whisky distilleries in Scotland that are owned by Dewar's: Aberfeldy; Aultmore; Craigellachie; Macduff; and Royal Brackla.

Dewar's products include their White Label and 12 Year Old bends, as well as their Aberfeldy Single Malt.

"Drown in a cold vat of whisky? Death, where is thy sting?"

— W. C. Fields
The Strathisla distillery in Scotland.  The  Strathisla Single Malt is one of the malt whiskies used in the Chivas Regal blend.
The Strathisla distillery in Scotland. The Strathisla Single Malt is one of the malt whiskies used in the Chivas Regal blend. | Source

Chivas Regal – Smooth and Elegant!

Chivas Regal is produced by Chivas Brothers, who were established in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1801.

The brand’s home is Strathisla Distillery in Speyside, Scotland, from which it has established itself as a global market leader in recent years.

The Chivas Regal blend contains a large amount Speyside malts, which gives it a smooth, elegant and very accessible taste.

"I love whisky and haggis. I can't get enough of either."

— Kevin McKidd
Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle in gift box.  The Johnnie Walker brand is sold in virtually every country with annual sales of over 130 million bottles.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle in gift box. The Johnnie Walker brand is sold in virtually every country with annual sales of over 130 million bottles. | Source

Johnnie Walker – "The World’s Favourite"

One taste from a dram of Johnnie Walker will tell you why it is the most widely distributed blended Scotch whisky in the world, selling over 130 million bottles annually.

Its iconic square bottle was introduced in 1870 and meant that, as well as suffering less breakages, more bottles could be fit into the same amount of space.

The gold label is a blend of over 15 single malts and its taste has an Islay peatiness about it, almost certainly deriving from the Caol Ila distillery, which is also owned by Diageo.

"I like whisky. I always did, and that is why I never drink it."

— Robert E. Lee
Ballantine's flavour is dependent on 50 single malts, four single grains and in particular the fingerprint malts from Miltonduff and Glenburgie.
Ballantine's flavour is dependent on 50 single malts, four single grains and in particular the fingerprint malts from Miltonduff and Glenburgie. | Source

Ballantine's Scotch – The King of Blends

Ballantine’s have been producing their award winning blended Scotch whiskies since the 19th Century.

They rely on fifty single malts to create their distinctive Ballantine’s brand. Their 17 year old blended Scotch whisky is a sweet and creamy, superior dram.

Probably the best, however, is Ballantine’s 30 year old Scotch, a marvel of smoky peatiness and cedar that shows what extra magic three decades of wood-aging can bring.

"Wild Turkey whisky and Philip Morris cigarettes are essential to the maintenance of human life!

— Herb Kelleher

© 2014 Paul Goodman

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