Sadly, blended whisky is often treated as inferior to its single malt counterparts. Single Malt is the pure-blooded Draco Malfoy to muggle-born Hermione Granger (to say nothing of the dark horse Neville Longbottom that is Single Pot Still). We know who we would prefer to copy our potions homework off.
Blends are made by blending lighter style whiskey made from maize or corn and whiskey made using malt in a pot still. When made well blended whiskeys teem with aroma and flavour. Spice is present, herbs sometimes too, and beneath that perhaps leather, caramel, tobacco, all finely strung together, balanced by the skill of the blender.
We have picked three of our favourites.
Jameson Crested Ten
Confusingly, this whiskey is not actually ten year old, but it does contain slightly older whiskeys than the standard Jameson. Crested Ten is blended from grain whiskey distilled in Cork and single pot still including some whiskeys that have been matured in ex-sherry casks, lending a juicy softness to the whiskey. There is loads of gently toasted wood as well as a beautiful raisin and nutty chocolate note complemented by warming spice. Kind of like a hot cross bun toasted with nutella on top, except at 40% ABV.
The Tullamore Distillery celebrates its first anniversary next week. Their flagship blend is a triple distilled blend of three kinds of whiskey: Malt, Pot Still and Grain. It is sweet and smooth, with loads of flavours of orchard fruits (apples and pears), vanilla and that stuff that people ice Christmas cakes with. Actually, now that we think of it, a bit of the Christmas cake too.
Grants Family Reserve
The familiar looking bottle is easy to overlook. Inside however the whisky is a blend of grain whisky from the Girvan distillery and some cracking malt whiskies, including its stablemates Glenfiddich and Balvenie. Grants has a hint of some orangey flavours which is balanced by a large dollop of spice, and a sweet vanilla and gentle peat kick, like a marshmallow charred on a bonfire.
The art of the blender is to bring together and balance each of the elements so that no one characteristic overwhelms. To experience the challenge of creating the perfect blend, book our blending lab with Grants Global Ambassador Rob Allanson next Saturday 19th September.
As many in the country descend upon a field in Laois, we choose the best cans to accompany your festival experience. Make sure to recycle and imbibe responsibly. Opt in to our newsletter here and we will select a lucky winner for a can of each.
Brooklyn Summer Ale: 5%, One for when you've just landed at the festival, you've dragged your tent, sleeping bag, the esky full of cans and ice and the Snickers bar that you found in the top pocket of that coat you haven't worn since February, to the centre of the mayhem that is the Jimi Hendrix camp ground. In short, you are bloody thirsty. Boom, Brooklyn Summer Ale. Its an English Pale Ale style so you can expect a sparkling body with a light bitterness that will cure the parched gullet you have built up.
Metalman Pale Ale: 4.3% Metalman Brewery stands out in the Irish craft brewing scene for charting their own course. Their first release, Metalman Pale Ale, made it into to a can for your festival enjoyment. This fruity, slightly hoppy and aromatic pale ale is a welcome all-dayer holding a thoughtful 4.3% ABV of refreshment!
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: 5.6% The pale ale that other pale ales look up to as their cooler, older cousin. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale flips through the pages of beer history laughing at the insipid lagers and pilsners that went before it, all the while beaming generously at all the fine pales ales that have come after. Loads of citrus bite and fragrant hops. Hugely refreshing.
Firestone Walker Pivo Pils: 5.3% If you are looking for something a little less fruity in your life you should plump for Pivo Pils. At 5.3% it is punchy enough to keep you on your toes but not to knock you out. Similarly its flavour is balanced, clean and crisp with a constant effervescence and slight bitter hit.
Beavertown Smog Rocket: 5.4% Made with a blend of 9 different malts including a rauch or smoked malt, this is the malty, molases kick you might need on a frosty festival morning. Sitting at only 5.4% its kinda like Cocoa Pops, only very much not.
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