Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky is a bottle that’s caught our attention recently. Partly because of the odd name, and partly because it’s an interesting blend of three Speyside malts — Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kinivie. Those malts are individually matured in used bourbon casks for an unspecified amount of time. Once the whiskeys have matured to Malt Master David Stewart’s liking, 27 casks — each having been tasted for quality and consistency — are selected for blending. Hence the “Batch 27” on the label. After a bit more aging, the whiskey is declared ready for bottling.
On the nose, Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is full of fresh fruits (pear, peach, apricot) and zesty citrus notes. There are hints of sweet vanilla and spicy oak. Drink up for light bourbon-vanilla and honey, plus a dash of warm cinnamon and some unexpected strawberry. The finish is medium-length and spicy, with a background of brown sugar, orange peels and pears.
Pretty good stuff. It’s light on the palate — the 40% ABV helps here — and goes down very easily. It’s certainly a good candidate for everyday drinking. Ice need not apply. But if cocktails are more your speed, Monkey Shoulder’s fresh fruit and floral qualities should make this whiskey a solid addition to drinks.
Fun Fact — The name Monkey Shoulder pays homage to malt men of the past. Turning barley by hand was a laborious task, and one that often resulted in a temporary injury, dubbed “monkey shoulder.” The brand’s workers still turn barley manually, but updated working conditions have relegated this injury to the hardworking men of yore.
– 40% Alcohol by Volume
– $35 / BUY
CE Rating: ★★★