Went to a whisky tasting the other night. Was pretty cool and I learned a lot. Like that the year on the bottle of blended whisky is the age of the youngest liquid used in the blend. And that in order to maintain the flavour profile of the whisky, 50+ different whiskies can be used in different combinations over the years.
At the tasting, each of us were given a little chemistry set and a selection of whiskies to use for blending. The whiskies were ordered according to the dominant flavour note: Floral, fruity, honey, vanilla, and smoke. In vials in front of the whiskies were samples of the real thing: some dried lavender petals, an orange zest, honey, vanilla, and peat.
After listening to the brief history of the Dewar's company and some of the basics of whisky making, we in the audience got to try our hand at mixing our own blend. I tried, but in my heart of hearts I still preferred the simple unadulterated smoky flavour of the single malt.
Islay single malts have my vote. Particularly since I got to try that 40+ year Bowmore that I could still taste hours later, after enjoying just a few tiny sips.