Blended whiskey is a popular style in nations like Scotland and Ireland, they’ve been less in demand among American whiskey drinkers. Much of this has to do with our laws; legally, American blended whiskey can have as little as 20 percent straight whiskey, with the rest of the blend being made up of neutral grain spirit.
In fact, American whiskey blends are often dominated by the neutral grain spirit, resulting in a lighter flavor that many whiskey drinkers find unappealing.
However, a handful of American blenders are bucking the trend and crafting high-quality blends that showcase the best of both worlds.
What is Blended Whiskey?
Blended whiskey is a type of whiskey that is produced using a combination of whiskies from different malt and grain distilleries.
The most common type of blended whiskey is Scotch whisky, which is made by blending malt whisky with grain whisky.
Blended whiskey typically has a smoother flavor than single malt or grain whisky, and it is often used in mixed drinks. Because of its versatility, blended whiskey is one of the most popular types of whiskey on the market today.
However, there are also many other types of blended whiskey, including Irish whiskey, Canadian whiskey, and Japanese whisky.
For a whiskey to be considered blended, it must meet certain criteria. First, the whiskey must be comprised of both single malt(s) and single grain(s). Second, if the whiskey is Scotch or Irish, it must be aged for at least three years.
Finally, if the whiskey is Irish, it can include single-pot still whiskey in the blend. By meeting these requirements, blended whiskey is able to maintain its distinct flavor profile while also being accessible to a wide range of drinkers.
Top 10 Blended Whiskeys
While there are many different brands and styles of blended whiskey, some stand out more than others. Here are ten of the best-blended whiskeys available on the market today:
- Barrell Seagrass Whiskey
- Hibiki Japanese Harmony
- Milam and Greene Triple Cask Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Pendleton Whiskey
- The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky
- Cutty Sark
- Teeling Small Batch Whiskey
- The Classic Cask Rare Scotch Whisky Single Batch 40
- Chivas Regal 18 Years
- Keeper’s Heart Irish + American
Barrell Seagrass Whiskey
At $79.99 per bottle, Barrell Seagrass Rye Whiskey is relatively expensive. However, the high quality of the product may justify the cost for some consumers.
The whiskey is a blend of American and Canadian rye whiskeys, and each ingredient is finished separately in Martinique Rhum, Madeira & apricot brandy barrels. According to the manufacturer, this process results in a more complex flavor profile.
Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from sales of Barrell Seagrass will be donated to The Ocean Foundation, making it a more socially responsible purchase.
Barrell Seagrass may be worth the investment for consumers interested in a unique and high-quality rye whiskey.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony
Hibiki Harmony Whisky is a Japanese Blend that the brand refers to as “Kanzen” or complete whisky. Considered the pinnacle of Japanese whisky, Hibiki is a unique blend of several malts and grain whiskies that are meticulously added, resulting in an orchestra of aromas and flavors.
Hibiki is known as the culmination of the Japanese art of blending and expert craftsmanship. The brand was launched in 1989 to celebrate the brand Suntory’s 90th birthday, and it’s become Japan’s most highly awarded blended whisky of all time.
More than that, Hibiki takes the honor of being among the most prestigious whiskies the world over. A bottle of Hibiki is a luxurious addition to any whisky collection at $99 a bottle, and it’s a great way to enjoy a truly special spirit.
Milam and Greene Triple Cask Straight Bourbon Whiskey
At 47% ABV, Milam & Greene‘s new Triple Cask Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made from a blend of 70% Texas corn, 22% Pacific Northwest malted rye, 8% Wyoming barley, and the company’s proprietary yeast recipe.
Drizly describes the blend as a composition of three straight bourbon whiskies: a 2-year-old premium Texas bourbon for spice, a 3-4-year-old Tennessee whiskey for vanillas and fruits, and a 10-11-year-old Tennessee whiskey for structure and tannins.
It is then proofed to taste and bottled on-site and sold for an MSRP of $45.
Pendleton is an easy-to-drink Canadian whiskey. Pendleton is a Canadian whisky brand that was created to celebrate the spirit of American cowboys.
Canadian whiskey is distilled using the finest ingredients and then aged in oak barrels. Before bottling, glacier-fed spring water is added from Mt. Hood, which is Oregon’s highest peak.
The combination of the high-quality ingredients and the spring water results in a smooth, rich-tasting whiskey.
All of Pendleton’s whiskies are 40% ABV (80 proof). The brand is the Official Spirit of the ProRodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) and the Official Whisky of the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) Velocity Tour.
The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky
The Famous Grouse is a very popular Scotch whisky blend that is made from the finest malts and grain whiskies.
It is well known for its balance, maltiness, and its smooth and well-balanced finish. This whisky was first made in 1896 and it has been known as
The Famous Grouse ever since. In order to ensure that only the best casks are used for this whisky, each one is nosed prior to blending. This results in a superior-tasting whisky that is enjoyed by many people all over the world.
Cutty Sark is a Scotch whisky that was first introduced in the 1920s. The whisky gets its name from a famous 19th-century clipper ship, and the distinctive yellow label is inspired by the ship’s sails.
Cutty Sark is a light-colored blended Scotch whisky, and it is known for being easy to drink. The whisky is balanced and lively, with vanilla ice cream and caramel being among the most notable flavor notes.
Cutty Sark has been enjoyed by drinkers worldwide for over 90 years, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The scotch is a blended whisky that is bottled at 40% ABV. It is made with a combination of malt and grain whiskies, and it has a light, fruity flavor.
Cutty Sark scotch is less than $30, making it an affordable option for enjoying quality scotch.
Teeling Small Batch Whiskey
Teeling Irish Whiskey is made from a blend of grain and malt whiskeys that are aged separately in ex-bourbon barrels. The ratio of grain to malt whiskey is approximately 3:1, and vanilla and oak notes are imparted during this stage.
From there, the Teeling website says the whiskey is then blended in small batches and finished in Central American rum casks, which allows the grain and malt whiskey to marry and take on a subtle dried fruit character.
The corn/grain element of the blend brings a distinct sweetness, while the malted barley’s rich, roasted caramel/toffee character provides a flavorful contrast.
This unique blend of flavors makes Teeling Irish Whiskey a truly distinctive spirit, and the best part is that it can be easily found for less than $30.
The Classic Cask Rare Scotch Whisky Single Batch 40
The Classic Cask 23-Year Old Port Finish is a blend of single malts that have been finished in port wood.
It retails for $150 and is a blend of twenty-three-year-old spirits that have been released in tandem by the Glenaden Distilling Company.
The spirit is comprised of single casks procured from Speyside, Highland, and Island distilleries, which were hand-selected by Master Blender David Hallgarten.
The whiskies were then matured in their original casks for a full twenty-three years before being married and divided into quarters for finishing and bottling without chill-filtering.
This gives the spirit its unique flavor profile, which is sure to please fans of Port wine and single malt whisky alike.
Lastly, for a bottle that is so limited, the $150 price tag is pretty reasonable.
Chivas Regal 18 Years
Chivas Regal 18 Gold Signature is a uniquely rich and multi-layered blend created by Colin Scott, Chivas Regal’s Master Blenders.
This highly awarded blend is produced using various malt and grain whiskies from distilleries all over Scotland, including our classic Speyside malt from Strathisla.
The result is a whisky with exceptional depth and character, perfect for those who appreciate the finer things in life.
For $80 and bottled at 40% ABV, Chivas Regal 18 Gold Signature is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
Keeper’s Heart Irish + American
Keeper’s Heart Irish + American Whiskey is a blend of three whiskeys sourced from Ireland and the United States.
The Irish grain whiskey and Irish pot still whiskey is blended with an American rye whiskey, giving the whisky its distinctive flavor profile.
The whiskey is aged for four years in oak barrels before being bottled at 86 proof. This smooth, well-rounded whiskey is perfect for sipping neat or on the rocks. Whether you’re a fan of Irish whiskey or American rye, Keeper’s Heart has something for everyone.
At the end of the day, the best-blended whiskey is one that is well-balanced and has a complex flavor profile. It should be smooth to drink and have a long finish, and anyone listed above will definitely fit the bill.