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Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch
About Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch
Of all the many different types of Scotch whisky, I have the least familiarity with blended scotch. And while browsing for something new to try, I was immediately drawn to the three brass monkeys on the bottle of Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch whisky.
Blended Scotches are made using a mixture of whiskies from different distilleries, and a variety of grains can be used. Monkey Shoulder is a blend of 3 different malt whiskies from the Speyside region of Scotland.
Monkey Shoulder is a relatively new offering from one of the oldest scotch making families, William Grant & Sons. They opened their first distillery in 1887, and continue to grow as a family owned business.
Monkey Shoulder was launched in the early 2000’s primarily as a cocktail mixer, and the name comes from a common historical ailment. Malted barley used to be turned by hand, and the strain could cause workers’ shoulders to hang down like a monkey.
❖ Spirit: Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
❖ Distillery: William Grant & Sons
❖ ABV: 43% (86 Proof)
❖ Moderate Price
My Tasting Notes
❖ Color: Honey
❖ Nose: light, fruit, vanilla
❖ Taste: Immediate spice and licorice, vanilla and honey, hardly any alcohol burn
❖ Finish: medium, slight spice, fruit and vanilla
3/4 oz Lime Juice
2 oz Blended Scotch
❖ Add lime and blended scotch to a collins glass
❖ Fill glass with ice and top with ginger beer
❖ Garnish with lime wheel
My first encounter with a Mamie Taylor cocktail was the Educated Barfly’s video, 10 Easy Cocktails to Make at Home. My love for the lime and whisky combo is well documented at this point, and this cocktail seemed like a simple to make riff on a Buck.
This Mamie Taylor is really refreshing, with a nice blend of spice and citrus flavor. The oak, spice, and vanilla from the Monkey Shoulder balance well with the tartness of the lime juice. The ginger beer also has the perfect amount of sweetness, and adds additional spice flavor. I’ve used both Fever Tree and Bundaberg ginger beer previously, and they’re both delicious. Fever Tree has more spice flavor, and the Bundaberg is sweeter.
There are many things to like about Monkey Shoulder Blend Malt Scotch, so I’m quite surprised I didn’t like it more. The fruit and spice notes are great, but there’s a lack of cohesion with the other flavors, so the overall tasting experience felt hollow.
I probably won’t often drink Monkey Shoulder neat, but would still recommend it as a mixing whiskey. The lack of flavor balance works much better in cocktails since the bold flavors can stand up to the other ingredients. Lime and ginger beer are quite strong, but the spice and vanilla notes still came through in the Mamie Taylor cocktail.
William Grant & Sons advertise Monkey Shoulder as a cocktail mixer, and it definitely lives up to this claim in terms of flavor, but I wish it was priced a little lower. I can regularly find it in my area for $27-$32 which is a bit high for a mixing spirit.
Although Monkey Shoulder isn’t for me, anyone looking for a good mixing whiskey with bold flavors should give it a shot. Now, I want to try other spirits from William & Sons, as well as other blended scotches.
As always, drink responsibly.
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