It is a common misconception that blended whiskies are inferior to single malts and I was reminded of this recently when I overheard a conversation in the pub. "Single malts are far better than the blended whiskies" boomed a voice at the bar "go for the Macallan 10".
It goes to show that a little information can be a dangerous thing, I have nothing against Macallan's entry level malts, but the pair had overlooked some really nice blends behind the bar including Ballantine's 17 Year Old and a very tempting Black Bull by Duncan Taylor.
There are of course some instances – especially with budget blended whiskies - where they don't stand up to single malts but cheap whisky is cheap whisky regardless of it's classification.
The best whiskies in the world probably are single malts, however, great things can be achieved when producing a blended whisky which simply can't be matched by a single malt.
Combining carefully selected, well aged, grain whisky with one or more single malts can bring out wonderful characteristics in the spirit. It is a real art form and I take my hat off to the master blenders – by the way if you ever fancy having a go at creating your own blended whisky at home I highly recommend this Home Blending Kit. It's not as easy as you might think.
For September's staff picks we've chosen four premium blended whiskies which demonstrate that great blends are right up there with the best single malts.
Staff Picks - our choices for this month
Black Bull 21 Year Old (Duncan Taylor)
This is is a lovely 21 year old blended whisky by Duncan Taylor which has a high malt to grain ratio. Created using predominantly Highland whisky blended with a few choice Speyside and Islay malts.
£90.66 at www.masterofmalt.com
Chivas 21 Year Old Royal Salute
A stunning 21 year old Blended Scotch Whisky from Chivas. Royal Salute is a rich and viscous blend full of character, very impressive. This bottling comes in a weighty Sapphire flagon.
£88.90 at www.masterofmalt.com
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Blue Label is Johnnie Walker's premium offering. A delicious blend of rare Scotch whiskies.
£129.59 at www.masterofmalt.com
The Lost Distilleries Blend
A very special Blended Scotch made with malt whisky from Brora, Caperdonich, Imperial, Mosstowie, Port Ellen and Rosebank, along with grain whisky from Port Dundas. This whisky is unique because all these distilleries are now closed or "lost".
£349.95 at www.masterofmalt.com