You know what is a fun game to play? ‘Vatting.’
Vatting is a term for blending together whiskeys. It came from Scotland. “Vatted Malt Whisky” used to be the legal category name for what was changed to “Blended Malt Whisky” with Scotland’s passage of the Scotch Whisky Regulations of 2009.
Today, people use it to describe home experimentation. It was highlighted in a recent edition of Chuck Cowdery’s publication, the Bourbon County Reader.
Below is a list of some of my favorite recipes.
McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt, Mellow Corn & Ezra Banks 12 Year Single Barrel
I call this blend “The Americans Abroad.” I’ve done reviews for each of these brands in earlier posts. I used 1 parts McCarthy’s to 2 parts Mellow Corn and 2 parts Ezra Banks.
Mellow Corn is really a great product to keep around if you’re getting into vatting. Its corn-forward profile does not mean it’s flavorless. A bonded product, it really has good barrel notes and the 100-proof bottling strength means you’re not diluting single barrel offerings.
This specific Ezra Banks was a delicious Single Barrel offering. It almost seemed sacrilegious to blend such a solid offering. But, just like a real Master Blender, I told myself I was making it go further. This way, I could take 2 oz. of Single Barrel and use it to fill a 6 oz. flask with rich, spicy-rye flavor and a creamy mouthfeel with tons of baking spice barrel notes.
The McCarthy’s just added a bit of complexity. It gives it a nice little peat smokiness that doesn’t clash with the bourbon-barrel smoke notes. Overall, it’s a damned fine draft.
Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12 & Glen Breton 10 Year Old Single Malt Canadian
I call this blend “The Slapshot.” I did an earlier review of Glen Breton 10 Year. It’s a super-light single malt – more in line with an Irish Pure Pot in terms of flavor profile than most Single Malt Scotches.
I did not do traditional tasting notes for Canadian Club Classic 12, but it is very flavorful for a blended Canadian. In fact, there’s a little more sherry flavor than I would prefer – almost cloying.
But by combining these two products with a 1-to-1 ration, you really get a great glass of whiskey. The malt flavor really shines when combined with the Canadian rye notes. The nose gains a complexity that neither product could boast of on their own. Really a top-not dram.
For me, I was stumbled upon this pastime before I even knew it had a name. I always just called it ‘Flaskin.’
I always loved whiskey. Back in college, when I was too broke to buy the good stuff, I would still collect whiskey when I could. While the attrition rate was high, I would sometimes find myself with multiple bottles. These would often be the value and standard segment brands I could afford on my pizza delivery and student newspaper paychecks: Jim Beam White Label, Jack Daniel’s, Evan Williams Black Label, George Dickel No. 8, etc.
When I was an undergraduate at West Virginia University, the nightlife often revolved around house parties. ‘Keg parties’ might be a more apt term.
Bringing over a full bottle of whiskey would be a surefire way to ensure you left with an empty one. So, I would bring a flask of whatever I had on hand. Topping-off flasks with this week’s bourbon soon turned into mixing them on purpose. It wasn’t to get drunk – there was all-you-can-drink beer – I just always liked whiskey and often wanted to make sure I had some around.
Anyway, that’s enough waxing about the glory days. I’m heading back to Morgantown this week for Homecoming and I’m bringing a special surprise for my alumni friends. I call this one “The Scotch-Irish” and it’s basically equal parts Teeling Single Grain and Johnnie Walker Green with nearly every single malt and single pot I own right now, currently: Green Spot, Monkey Shoulder (a blend of three malts in its own right), Glenmorangie Lasanta and Clynelish 14 Year.
I’ll let you know how it was received later down the road, mates.