Originally Posted by jwise
The difference is that blended whisky has grain alcohol mixed into the whisky, making it harsh. A vatted malt, or pure malt whisky, would be a better example of you point (hybrid breeds). A blend has to be done WELL in order to not be harsh.
This is true, but an oversimplification of what the other (not malted barley) grains add to a blend. The grain alcohol is not the 190 proof rot gut you buy in the liquor store, but aged grain spirit carefully selected to balance the flavors in the blend. It's not just random filler used to extend the malt spirit. The difference between a standard rail blended scotch for mixing and a fine blend for sipping is profound. Order the Johnnie Walker gift set with 4 200cc bottles (red, black, gold, and blue) and you and a couple friends can see what I'm talking about. It's also a good example of the effects of additional aging.