Single Vs. Double Malt Scotches

 

Time for another quick lingo lesson.

 

You hear the term “single malt” bandied about all the time. But what does that mean?

 

Single malt scotches are made exclusively of malted barley at one distillery. They are not blended with anything else.

 

So does that mean a double malt scotch is the combination of two products from two different distilleries? Nope. There’s actually no such thing as a double malt. You might make a buck or two on this one next time you play bar trivia with your friends.

 

There are, however, vatted malts, which are sometimes referred to as pure malts. This describes a blend of single malts, not necessarily from the same distillery.

 

There are blended scotches. These are a blend of malt whiskies and grain whiskies. Distilleries that make malt whisky don’t usually do both malt and grain (such as rye, corn, etc.), but some do. Usually, though, they are from a variety of distilleries.

 

Single malts are more unique than vatted or blended. And every year can taste noticeably different than another. A lot of the higher end single malts will not only state how many years aged, but also the year in which it was made.

 

Some guy named “Trid” on yahoo.answers.com gives this sound advice when selecting a scotch for, say, Father’s Day: “Something in the neighborhood of 18-25 years old might go over really well. Macallan (or, The Macallan) is always a good safe bet. If you want to show you care, avoid Glenlivet or Glenfiddich (neither are “bad,” just common and unremarkable in comparison). Bowmore and Ardbeg are both very good.

 

For a blended whisky, Johnny Walker is very commonly known, but they make a variety of blends that range in quality. Red is the common, everyday style. Black is a little better. Gold is good…. Blue is their top of the line blend.

 

Thanks, “Trid.”

4 Responses to “Single Vs. Double Malt Scotches”

  1. Bill Says:

    What does that mean? Are youi saying that Glenlivet or Glenfediddich is not as good as Macallan? What would a real true Scotch drinker like to have?

  2. Kaptain K. Says:

    I’d take The Macallan though I’ve only purchased the 12yr & 15yr for myself. If your buying Jonnhy Walker do yourself a favor a go out and buy a bottle of the green label while you still can. It’s a smooth vatted malt and the only JW label found in my cupboard.

  3. abe lurie Says:

    ALL YOU GUYS ARE WRONG ON ALL COUNTS!!!! ONCE YOU ARE ON YOUR 4TH DRINK……….THEY ALL TASTE THE SAME AND I CERTAINLY CANT TELL ANY DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!! iVE BEEN DRINKING SCOTCH SINCE I WAS 13 AND I AM NOW 67 AND GOING STRONG.

  4. Monkey Shoulder Scotch Review | The Whiskey Reviewer Says:

    […] to several dozen distilleries. The idea is now so deep in the dustbin of whiskey history that some very wrongly think double malt scotch never existed and the term is a mistake. At least it was until William Grant and Sons came up with Monkey Shoulder, reviving it for a short […]

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