A blended whiskey or bourbon is an artfully crafted result of mixing different types of whiskeys. Often, crafters experienced in the art of blending will mix different aged and/or different quality whiskeys to create a unique product with layers of complexity. However, the key to great blending begins with the ability to pick out great whiskeys from different sources. There is a lot of bad whiskey out there.
In the United States, blended whiskey must be produced using no less than 20% by volume of whiskey (the remainder can be grain-neutral spirits). In certain types of blends, harmless coloring and flavorings like sugar and caramel coloring can be added; however, these blending materials cannot exceed 2.5% by volume of the product. Artificial flavors may not be used as blending material, and formula approval is required by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for all types of whiskey if blending material is added.
Blend Naming Requirements
There are some unusual nuances in the government's requirements for naming blended whiskies. For instance, blended “Bourbons” of the same type and produced in the same state are called Straight Bourbon Whiskeys. Yet, blended “Bourbons” of the same type but not made in the same state must be labeled as A Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskies (Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskies). If this seems a little arbitrary, that’s because it is.
Many additional government requirements influence how a blended whiskey is labeled.
Popular Whiskey Blending Companies
While many distilleries and crafters blend whiskeys, a few stand out because of their focus on blending. These include:
- Barrell Craft Spirits
- Bardstown Bourbon Company
- Old Elk
- Breckenridge Distillery
Types of Blended Whiskeys
- Blended Light Whisky or Light Whisky – A Blend
- Blended Whisky or Whisky – A Blend
- Blended Bourbon Whisky or Bourbon Whisky – A Blend
- Blended Rye Whisky or Rye Whisky – A Blend
- Blended Wheat Whisky or Wheat Whisky – A Blend
- Blended Malt Whisky or Malt Whisky – A Blend
- Blended Rye Malt Whisky or Rye Malt Whisky – A Blend
- Blended Corn Whisky or Corn Whisky – A Blend
- A Blend of Straight Whiskies or Blended Straight Whiskies
- A Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskies or Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskies
- A Blend of Straight Rye Whiskies or Blended Straight Rye Whiskies
- A Blend of Straight Wheat Whiskies or Blended Straight Wheat Whiskies
- A Blend of Straight Malt Whiskies or Blended Straight Malt Whiskies
- A Blend of Straight Rye Malt Whiskies or Blended Straight Rye Malt Whiskies
- A Blend of Straight Corn Whiskies or Blended Straight Corn Whiskies
- Blended Scotch Whisky or Scotch Whisky – A Blend Irish Whisky
- Blended Irish Whisky or Irish Whisky – A Blend Blended Canadian Whisky