Whisky Advocate

Small Blenders Aim Big

By Jonny McCormick

Why do small whisky companies compete in the face of blending dominance by multinational corporations? What’s their take on blending, and how does this differ from the major whisky brands? Which blends are deserving of your hard-earned cash? As blending is highly topical, Jonny McCormick speaks to blenders from three contrasting whisky companies to find out the answers.

To an aspiring whisky blender, the muscle of Dewar’s, Johnnie Walker, and Chivas Brothers must seem every bit as imposing as biblical Goliath. These huge heritage brands, born from the successes of entrepreneurs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dominate not only blended whisky, but also the entire Scotch whisky industry. They are masters in the art of blending dozens of aged single malts and lighter grain whiskies into incredibly complex and consistent whiskies on a grand scale. Add to this skill their marketing prowess, daunting stocks of maturing whiskies, and global name recognition, and they are the definition of well-armored competitors. What entrepreneur would ever wish to be the David to face such a seemingly insurmountable foe? A very smart one indeed.

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