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Monkey Shoulder

43% ABV - Blended, Scotland

Nose: Lots of sweet fruits and honey, opening to red fruits and plum. Not too much complexity or deep flavours, and it works.

Taste: Light red fruits, spices, black cherry, and vanilla.

Finish: The spices carry through with cinnamon, and then blood orange, citrus, dark fruits, and dried fruits pour over the tongue.

I could have mentioned for each component that there is an air of simplicity to Monkey Shoulder… but the flavours are thoughtfully selected and they work well in absence of a deeper complexity.

Monkey Shoulder must be one of the most popular blended whiskies that doesn’t break the bank. I find that it is recommended quite often on the whisky subreddits… and I think that observation played a part in my selection here. I was looking for a whisky that was versatile: can be sipped neat, taken on ice, or mixed in a highball or cocktail. It’s a whisky for everyone! I think that normally Monkey Shoulder would be among the whiskies to start the night with, to acclimatize the taste buds to the high ABV of spirits, and before sipping on something more robust in terms of flavour.

So, what is in this blend? A little bit of searching suggests that this is an amalgamation of Kininvie, Balvenie, and Glenfiddich, with no known percentages–only guesswork! As for the "Batch 27" on the label, it is a nod to the original blend of Monkey Shoulder that was composed from 27 casks. I couldn’t find a definitive answer if each bottling is still from 27 casks, but there is a lot of suggestion that the vattings are much larger now. Regardless, we have a well crafted and tasty whisky.

Tasting Notes (Official): Nose: Zesty orange, vanilla honey & spiced oak. Taste: Mellow vanilla with spicy hints.

Tasted 14 October 2020. (Posted 15 October 2020.)

81/100
Detailed Rating Information...

90+: Fantastic whisky; highly recommended. My favourite whiskies – I might have more than one bottle if the price is right and the supply is limited! The higher values in this range will reflect a stronger balance and consistency between components.
85-89: Great whisky; recommended. Whiskies that really tick the flavour boxes and you'll likely hear about these from me. Great bottles to have stocked at all times.
80-84: Very good whisky; recommended, but still consider trying before you buy. Anything is this range or above I would gladly order at a restaurant or buy a bottle.
75-79: Good whisky; consider trying before you buy. These are whiskies that I enjoyed drinking, but likely would reach for another bottle from the shelf or select something different to order.
65-74: Average; consider trying before you buy, but not recommended. There is nothing that stood out about this whisky and I might be inclined to mix it with soda or in a cocktail, instead of trying to enjoy its own flavours.
50-64: Bad; not recommended.


Whisky Bottle