How single-malt whisky has risen in popularity

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November 2018 saw a bottle of Macallan 60 year old single-malt whisky sell at auction for a record breaking $1.5 million, yet the popularity of single-malts is relatively new.

Blending different whiskies was considered the best way to ensure consistency for the palates of fashionable London and across the world. The invention of the Coffey in the early 1800s gave producers a cheaper way to produce grain whisky in response to growing demand. They began blending grain whiskies with malt whiskies to enhance the flavour but retain cost effective production methods.

It wasn’t until 1963, when the distillery Glenfiddich actively promoted the first single-malt whisky outside of Scotland. It was first known as ‘straight malt’ then ‘pure malt’ and finally ‘single malt’, a term which has been used ever since.

Before the 1960s, single-malts were practically unheard of and it was blended Scotch whisky which was the market leader. By the 1970s, single-malts were growing in popularity and by 1980, 27 single-malt whiskies were on the market. This number had grown to 104 by 1989, and in 2006 the ‘Malt Whisky Yearbook’ had been published for the first time. In the 2010 edition, the editor states that listing all the new single-malts would be “virtually impossible”.

One thing that has always been popular though is drinking a whisky, whether single-malt or blended, from a beautiful engraved whisky glass, and here at H Cooper Glass Engravers, we pride ourselves on the wide range available.

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