(Most single malts are matured longer.) Until the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 (SWR 2009), the word "blended" only appeared (in the context of Scotch whisky) on bottles of whisky that contained a mixture of both barley and non-barley grain whisky, but this is no longer the case.
The largest distiller to remain under Scottish ownership is William Grant & Sons, owned by the Grant family, with headquarters in Motherwell, Scotland.Other distilleries owned by Scottish companies/families are Glenfarclas, Kilchoman, and Bunnahabhain.Many distilleries do not bottle their whisky as a single malt, so independent bottlings are the only way the single malt gets to market.The bottling process is generally the same, but independents generally do not have access to the distillery's water source, so another source is used to dilute the whisky.Single malt whisky offers the greatest variation and depth of flavour of all spirits, despite being made from just barley, yeast and water.
A single malt whisky must be produced at a single distillery, distilled from malted barley and water.
Quickly, merchants began blending the malt whisky with the grain whisky distilled in the continuous stills, making the first blended Scotch whisky.
The blended Scotch proved quite successful, less expensive to produce than malt with more flavour and character than grain.
The earliest written record of whisky production in Scotland from malted barley is an entry on the 1494 Exchequer Rolls, which reads "Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor, by order of the King, wherewith to make aqua vitae." In the following centuries, the various governments of Scotland began taxing the production of whisky, to the point that most of the spirit was produced illegally.
However, in 1823, Parliament passed an act making commercial distillation much more profitable, while imposing punishments on landowners when unlicensed distilleries were found on their properties.
Very few whiskies are bottled from a single cask, and the mixing of spirits with different amounts of ageing is allowed; the age statement reflects the age of the youngest whisky in the mix.