There is an old industry term in the Scottish sector of the whisk(e)y world known as a vatted malt (also called a blended malt). It is, essentially, a bringing together of various single malt whiskies into one blend, whereas a blended scotch, another Scotch whisky industry term, can contain both single malt and single grain whiskies. Vatted whiskies outside of Scotland are virtually unheard of, which is why it is quite fascinating to report on Barrell Craft Spirits and their latest offering.
The new Barrell Whiskey American Vatted Malt, according to them, is a blending of American single malt whiskeys from various craft distilleries across the United States. It is believed to be among the first of its kind, and if there is anyone who could bring something like this together it is Barrell, which is known for being one of the top independent American whiskey blender and bottler outfits out there.
“We’re thrilled to announce the release of our first-ever Barrell Whiskey American Vatted Malt,” said Barrell Craft Spirits founder Joe Beatrice in a prepared statement. “We chose the name ‘American Vatted Malt’ as an homage to the old Scottish category of vatted malt, which was once the preferred nomenclature to describe a blended whisky made entirely from single malts. Today, the Scots refer to that style as blended malt, but affection for the term ‘vatted’ lives on.
“In addition to expanding our ever-growing portfolio of spirits, this new project is an important step in advancing our vision of the next chapter of whiskey in America.”
It is said by Barrell this release was years in the making, as many of the components in the blend come from emerging distilleries that have never traded or sold bulk whiskey before. Some of the distillery collaborators in this project wanted to remain anonymous, but those who publicly were said to have taken part included
• Balcones Distillery, Waco, Texas
• Hamilton Distillers Del Bac, Tucson, Arizona
• MGP, Lawrenceburg, Indiana
• Harvest Distillery, Valatie, New York
• Santa Fe Distillery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
• Kings Country Distillery, Brooklyn, New York
As for official tasting notes, it is said by Barrell that “never before have we strived to balance the distinctive tang of Southwestern mesquite smoke with the sweet and creamy maltiness of malted barley, or contrast briny coastal peat with the warm vanilla character of toasted oak. The resulting blend is complex and multi-faceted, rewarding the drinker with unfolding layers of flavor.”
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...