Is single malt more expensive than double?

Answered by Michael Weatherspoon

Is Single Whisky More Expensive Than Blended Whisky?

As a sommelier and brewer with years of experience, I can confidently say that single malt whisky is generally more expensive than blended whisky. However, the price difference is not solely determined by the type of whisky, but rather several factors that contribute to the overall cost. Let's delve into these factors and explore why single malt whisky commands a higher price tag.

1. Ingredients and Production Process:
Single malt whisky is made from a single type of grain, typically barley, which is carefully selected and sourced. The quality of the barley, its origin, and the specific region it is grown in can greatly influence the flavor profile of the whisky. These factors contribute to the higher cost of raw materials and the subsequent production process.

Blended whisky, on the other hand, combines malt whiskies from different distilleries with grain whisky. The use of grain whisky allows for a smoother and more consistent flavor, but it is generally produced in larger quantities using more cost-effective grains. This results in a lower production cost compared to single malts.

2. Ageing Process:
Another factor that contributes to the price difference is the ageing process. Single malt whisky often undergoes a longer maturation period, sometimes up to 25 years or more. The longer the whisky is aged, the more complex and refined its flavors become. However, this also means that the distillery has to hold onto the whisky for a longer period, tying up valuable resources and increasing production costs.

Blended whisky, on the other hand, typically has a shorter maturation period as it combines different whiskies of varying ages. This allows for a consistent flavor profile to be achieved without the need for extensive ageing. Consequently, blended whiskies are generally more accessible in terms of price.

3. Rarity and Limited Editions:
Single malt whiskies often have limited production runs and may be sourced from specific distilleries or regions that have a long-standing reputation for producing exceptional whiskies. This exclusivity and rarity contribute to the higher price tag associated with single malts. Additionally, some distilleries release limited editions or special cask finishes, which further drive up the cost due to their limited availability and unique characteristics.

Blended whiskies, on the other hand, are often produced in larger quantities and have a more consistent flavor profile, making them more readily available and affordable.

Personal Experiences:
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to taste and appreciate various single malt and blended whiskies. While both have their merits, single malts have consistently stood out for their complexity, depth of flavor, and unique regional characteristics. The attention to detail in the production process and the limited availability of certain expressions have justified their higher price point.

That being said, blended whiskies should not be overlooked. They offer a smooth and approachable drinking experience at a more affordable price, making them suitable for everyday enjoyment or mixing into .

Single malt whisky is generally more expensive than blended whisky due to factors such as the quality and origin of ingredients, longer maturation periods, rarity, and limited editions. However, the price difference is not indicative of the quality or enjoyment one can derive from either type of whisky. Ultimately, the choice between single malt and blended whisky comes down to personal preference, budget, and occasion.