Price Point: $25 – $35 for 750 ML
How could you not buy a whisky called Monkey Shoulder? Especially when it has three little monkeys hanging onto the “shoulder” of the bottle? Obviously I couldn’t resist, or you wouldn’t be reading this review.
The only thing holding me back from purchasing this bottle was its nature as a blend. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t good blends (think Sheep Dip and Royal Salute 21 Year Old). But there are also hideously poor blends (cough, Johnnie Walker Red Label, cough).
The purist in me stays away from blended Scotches, as I have found overwhelming favor with single malts. The realist in me recognizes that not all blends can be bad, and in fact, many single malts are blended in a way – they are just not categorized as a “blend” on the label. Monkey Shoulder meets this difference somewhere in the middle, shying away from grain whisky, and using malt whisky from three neighboring distilleries in Speyside.
Monkey Shoulder noses initially like a fine Speyside single malt. This very much reminds me of a Balvenie (I found out after reviewing that Balvenie is one of the three whiskies used in this blend!). There’s a nice balance of malt and subtle floral notes. It’s refreshing to experience the nose of a blend with no trace of grain aromas.
Monkey Shoulder has a light-to-medium mouthfeel. It’s a pretty straightforward Speyside Scotch; very pleasant, well-rounded, and balanced. Could spend a little more time maturing in barrels, but still very drinkable. It’s silky smooth with subtle leather notes, and vanilla.
This whisky has a very nice finish – malty and pleasant.
Rating & Recommendations
Monkey Shoulder is a good whiskey at a great price point, earning a rating of 82 out of 100.
Of all the blends readily available, Monkey Shoulder is surely one of the better ones.