Single malt whisky is created in a single distillery by using only one malted crop (typically barley). Most well-known single malt Scotch whisky is the single malt, and it’s the model for all other single malts that are produced throughout the world. Ireland, Japan, America, Canada, and several other countries also produce excellent single malts. The people who drink in India, Canada, India, the U.S., France, Germany, Spain, and Singapore consume the highest amount of whisky and scotch overall and there’s an overall growth on single malt manufacturing and sales. Since it usually costs more, most drinkers enjoy single malts in a straight-lined manner or reserve the whisky for high-end cocktails.

Single Malt vs. Blended Whisky

Labels for whisky can be confusing, so it’s best for drinkers to be aware of a few commonly used terms. While scotch is an obvious example, the same distinction between single malt and blended whisky is applicable to all whiskies around the globe. The most significant factor is how many distilleries played a role in making the whisky.

Single Malt Whisky: A mix of malt whiskys produced at one distillery using a single type of malted grains.
Blended Whisky is a blend of malted barley and grain whiskys from several distilleries. This includes brands of Scotch like Johnny Walker as well as Chivas Regal.
Blended Malt Whisky: A blend of malted whiskys produced at various distilleries (it does not include grain whiskies).
Single Grain Whisky: Whisky made by blending more than one grain, including barley, corn or wheat, in one distillery.

Fast Facts

Ingrédients: Barley malted or another malted grain
Proof: 80-130
ABV: 40-65%
Calories in a 1 1/2-ounce shot: 1997-116
The origins of the country: Scotland, Ireland, Japan, U.S., and more.
Taste: Oaky, smooth and roasted grain
Aged 5 years old or more
Serve Straight, with a splash of ice Cocktails with a premium finish

What Is Single Malt Whisky Made Of?

Whisky made from single malt is created similar to other whiskies: Grains are fermented with yeast to convert sugars to alcohol, and the liquid is distilled into a concentrated alcoholic beverage before it’s aged in barrels blended, and then bottled. Whisky makers who distill single malts apply a few special techniques during the process, and they’re often similar to making Scotch.

All malted whisky begins its life the same way as beer. It is typically made from barley (though some make use of rye), the raw grains are malted by placing them in water to initiate the germination process followed by the application of heat to prevent the grains from sprouting entirely. The malting process makes the grains more susceptible to fermentation. Unmalted barley (or an alternative grain) is used in other whiskys however, not single malt whisky.

Also, in blended scotch, single-malt Scotch whisky is made with peated malt. Drying barley on locally-sourced peat gives the whisky its distinctive smoky character. Although some single malt producers outside of Scotland also use peat however, the majority prefer kiln-dried or roasted malt.

Perhaps the most confusing aspect in single malt whisky could be “single.” It does not mean the whisky originated out of a specific barrel or even one batch. These are actually blended whiskies that have been aged in different barrels created at one distillery.

It doesn’t matter what style, many whiskys in the world are blended somehow. This is how distillers create the same taste in their whisky year in and year out and the whisky you’re drinking is exactly the same as the one that you drank the previous year. If the distillery relied solely on just one barrel or batch whisky, the profile of the whisky would constantly change; each barrel, as well as the ambient conditions add different flavors to the final whisky as it gets older. For this reason, a whisky brand’s most popular expressions are blended, while single barrel or batch whiskys are usually reserved for limited-edition releases.

The single malt scotch is almost always a blend is a bit surprising for many drinkers. For instance, the Glenlivet 18-Year Old Single Malt Scotch mixes various whiskies that were aged in barrels of different types for at least 18 years. In the single malt definition, all whiskies were distilled from malted barley in The Glenlivet Distillery.

Single malt whiskys can be bottled at 40 percent alcohol-by volume (ABV, at 80 proof) or more. Most are under 100 proof, however a few whiskies can be as high as 130 proof.

What Does Single Malt Whisky Taste Like?

Whisky generally tastes like woody, oaky and roasted grain alcohol frequently with vanilla, caramel, fruit or nut flavours. Single malts can amplify and reduce these characteristics at the same time, ensuring that whisky tastes incredibly smooth. In the case of scotch there’s also an smoky, peaty flavor.


The single malt whiskies of Scotland are the most well-known, and are made from malted barley by itself. While the distillers primarily use the same techniques however, the flavor can vary. Scotland’s single malt whiskys beautifully exhibit regional character and have a unique flavor profile because of the local climate and distilling techniques. As an example, whisky from the Highlands is lighter, Speyside whisky is seen as elegant, and whisky distilled in the Islands is generally slightly salty because of the ocean air.

Like single malts, single malts created in other locations have distinct characteristics and production methods. Japanese single malts have a lot in common with the ones from Scotland because the founding distillers have studied the Scotch style. Irish whisky distilleries usually offer single malts, which are viewed as more refined than Scotland’s more traditional blended whiskies. Several American as well as Canadian single malt whiskys are impressive, as many craft distillers play with different the use of other grains than barley and other methods to make their whiskies an individual style.

The market of single malts increased substantially since Glenfiddich launched the first bottles to the U.S. market in the 1960s.1 The rise of this type of product is fascinating, and it’s delightful to see the excellent single malts coming through Australia, France, Germany, India, Taiwan, and many other places.

Where can I purchase Single Malt Whisky

Single malt whisky has earned itself a famous reputation, and the typical liquor store should carry at least a few options. For the best selection, seek out one that offers an diverse selection of premium spirits or one that specializes in whisky. Depending on the shipping regulations where you live shopping online can provide a nearly endless supply of single malts you can try.

In general, you should expect to pay more for a bottle of single malt whisky than for a blended whisky. The name of the distillery as well as the age of that particular bottle also play into the price. A 50-year old single malt Scotch whisky produced by a well-known distillery will cost more than a 15-year-old single malt American craft whisky, for instance.

How to drink Single Malt Whisky

Due to the high cost, single malt whisky is typically consumed straight, especially those in the premium category. It can be served on the rocks or with a splash of soda or water to release the aromas and flavors. Single malts can make a very nice cocktail, but. If you’re confident mixing single malts in your bar, then do this because it’s an exceptional high-end cocktail. No matter the whisky most important factor is that you, the drinker, enjoy the whisky you’re drinking.

Cocktail Recipes

Single malt whisky is rarely called for in cocktails. It is best served in recipes that are simple with only one or two other ingredients that complement and highlight the whisky. An excellent place to start is with the most well-known Scotch cocktails.

Robert Burns
Rob Roy
Rusty Nail
Scotch & Soda

Brands of the Year

There are a variety of whisky brands that make single malt whisky. Certain brands specialize in it, while others provide selected bottles that are at the top of their list.

Irishman Irish Whisky
The Glenlivet Scotch Whisky
Highland Park Scotch Whisky
Knappogue Castle Irish Whisky
Macallan Scotch Whisky Macallan Scotch Whisky
Nikka Yoichi Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Yamazaki Single Malt Japanese Whisky