International Scotch Day: Blended Scotch whiskies to try

International Scotch Day: Blended Scotch whiskies to try

The Scotch whisky narrative may be centred around single malts – but it's worth watching the country's blended whiskies, too

News | 08 Feb 2023

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It's International Scotch Day (8 February), the perfect opportunity to appraise your Scotch whisky collection – but rather than single malts, we would like to put the spotlight on blended whisky.

Once a by-word for poorer quality in Scotch whisky, blends are still often overlooked in favour of single malts. However, distilleries around the country are focusing on elevating blends – be they malt, grain, or a marriage of the two. Blended whiskies and blended malts can carry a huge amount of character and complexity and, some may argue, have greater flexibility than a single malt due to these nuances. It makes them a great jumping-off point for those who are newer to whisky, as well as an exciting avenue for aficionados.

Chivas Ultis XX

This week, Scotch whisky giant Chivas announced it was launching an age statement 'evolution' of its Ultis blended whisky. The Ultis XX blends single malt whiskies from Strathisla, Allt A'bhainne, Braeval, Longmorn and Tormore, along with Chivas' signature Strathclyde grain whisky.

Chivas launched Ultis, its first blended malt whisky, in October 2016 as a premium offering to the blended Scotch scene. It says Ultis XX has been designed for "a new generation of whisky fans", retaining the whisky's classic flavour profile but with added weight and depth from the five 20-year-old malt whiskies used.

Nick Blacknell, Chivas global marketing director, said: "Adding ‘XX’ to the Ultis name is a clear signal to the decadence that comes with the addition of a 20 Years Old age statement and the complexity of flavour that whisky fans can expect from this premium blend. With this evolution, we have once again reinforced our belief that whisky is the ultimate choice for a new generation of drinkers. As we continue to challenge traditional conventions of blended Scotch, Ultis XX takes pride of place as the pinnacle of our portfolio and the ultimate flex to elevate those ‘I’ve made it’ moments with.”

Chivas master blender Sandy Hyslop added: "Ultis XX is the ultimate tribute to the five generations of master blenders who preceded me in dedicating their life’s work to mastering Chivas’ iconic house style. Each of the single malts used within this blend brings their own complexity to the whisky."

MacNair"s Lum Reek 10 Years Old Cask Strength Batch 2 blended malt whisky

Lum Reek 10 Years Old Cask Strength Batch 2

MacNair’s Boutique House of Spirits, owned by The GlenAllachie Distillers Company, has unveiled the second iteration of its Lum Reek 10 Years Old blended malt.

The Lum Reek 10 Years Old Cask Strength Batch 2 combines single malt whiskies from Speyside and Islay, including some from The GlenAllachie itself. Marrying these peated and unpeated malt spirits has created a flavour profile which the MacNair's team says balances "gentle smoke and sweet spice".

The whiskies for the blend were selected by The GlenAllachie's master blender Billy Walker. Once blended, the spirit was filled into a mix of sherry, red wine and virgin oak casks for marrying and additional ageing. Batch 2 was bottled at cask strength of 55.8% ABV without chill filtration or added colouring.

Of the new blend, Walker said: "Lum Reek is a blend I hold close to my heart. It presents the chance to introduce Speyside and Islay single malts to our GlenAllachie spirit, balancing the honey-sweet house style of our whisky with Islay peat smoke and Speyside spiciness."

MacNair’s Lum Reek 10 Years Old Cask Strength Batch 2 will be available from global specialist retailers (UK RSP £62.99).

Have we piqued your interest? Here are some more whiskies to try:

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