Among whiskey snobs, the word “blend” on a bottle of the brown stuff is like the kiss of death; it might as well say “bland” instead. You see, most blended whiskies consist primarily of grain whiskey, which is distilled to a high proof and has a flavor about halfway between whiskey and vodka. The grain whiskey is combined with standard whiskeys, often from several different distilleries, to create a consistent blend that’s lighter, smoother and easier to drink than most straight whiskeys or single malts. When done poorly, it can be the alcoholic equivalent of a yawn. But when it’s done well, the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Blends are great for whiskey beginners, ideal for use in mixed drinks, and the best ones can win over even the snootiest of whiskey snoots.