What is single cask, single malt whisky?

///What is single cask, single malt whisky?

What is single cask, single malt whisky?

What is single cask, single malt whisky?


The Society is the worldwide leader, and most-awarded, independent bottler and whisky club on earth. What we have done best since 1983 is producing single cask, single malts, and occasionally other intriguing spirits also in single cask form. What does this mean and how does it differ from most commercially available offerings?


First, let’s work out what is what:

Blended whisky

You’ve likely heard of at least a few of these before. The likes of Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, etc. Most blended whisky is a mixture of malt whisky (barley) and grain whisky (wheat or corn) blended together. Blended whisky usually takes a multitude of oak casks maturing whisky from a range of different distilleries, blends them together to create a homogenised blend that is consistent, smooth, if not a little too ‘ironed out’ in flavour.

Blended malts

Like above, but uses no grain whisky in the mix. Think things like Monkey Shoulder, or Naked Grouse. The flavour here will often be a bit more interesting, a bit ‘maltier’ with just using malt whisky in the mix, but is still a smooth and homogenised blend of malts.

Single malt whisky

Single malt whisky can use a multitude of casks like the two examples above, but they have to be all 100% malt whisky (no grain again), and be all from just one distillery, instead of two or more. Drinking a good single malt can provide a bit more character to the spirit, harnessing the distillery profile a bit better, and is a more ‘focused’ in flavour, while maintaining distillery and brand consistency.

Single cask, single malt whisky

This is where the Scotch Malt Whisky Society shines. Our expert tasting panel go to the widest range of distilleries on earth and hand-pick out some of the most unique single casks from these single malt whisky distilleries. So imagine in terms of focus a single malt is like a paintbrush, whereas a single cask single malt is the fine-point calligraphy quill!

Single cask whisky is a way for you to drink an utterly unique flavour profile from a distillery, while still enjoying that distillery character and profile, and discovering how the interaction of oak over time has dramatically changed that spirit in just one cask. Every single cask we bottle is at the natural cask strength as it came out of the cask, and has no artificial colours, flavours, or filtering.

Whisky, as it was meant to be. Unique and utterly interesting. Cheers!

Keen to learn more? Want to join 30,000 other members on an enlightened journey of single cask whiskies and events? Check out our joining options here.


About the Author:

Matt Bailey is the Branch Director for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Australia. He's tirelessly trying to meet every member and share a dram with you all.

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