Monkey Shoulder Scotch Review

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Monkey Shoulder ScotchMonkey Shoulder scotch is a blended scotch of three, different, Speyside Single Malts: Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Kininivie. The story on the back of the bottle provides an interesting story as to how Monkey Shoulder Scotch got its unusual name which is derived from the malt men who doing the shoulder-wrenching job of constantly turning the malted barley by hand to make small batches of delicious whiskey. I will boldly say that this scotch is deserving of this name for a much more important reason: That is, you will throw your shoulder out from the thousands of times you will be lifting the glass up to your lips to consume this delicious, liquid gold. Monkey Shoulder scotch is one of the best blended scotches I’ve ever had. It is actually similar to a Speyside Single Malt like Glenlivet, but it is even better than that. The first time I ever really got excited about a quality scotch was when I had Glenlivet. Over time, I have became less impressed with Glenlivet and some of the other Speyside malts. Glenlivet just don’t quite have the flavor I remembered from back in the day when I was first mesmerized with it’s silky, buttery smoothness. Other scotch review sites have concurred with me on this and have even noted that the something about the recipe or its ingredients have changed.  If I had to compare Monkey Shoulder to another blended scotch, I might go with something like Johnny Walker Black. I think the JWB is a little smokier, but not as flavorful, overall, and lacks the long finish.

Monkey Shoulder Scotch Review Tasting Notes

I don’t always pick-up the same tastes that the scotch marketing/tasting gurus advertise on the bottle, but I have to say they nailed it pretty closely on this one. Monkey Shoulder has a very buttery-vanilla nose and front with hints of orange, honey and spiced oak. I get all of that and a little bit of a creaminess like a cream soda, along with some sea salt and just a hint of the bourbon-praline taste, perhaps from the fact it is aged in bourbon casks. The sip has a very long, pleasing and surprisingly long finish for a lighter blended scotch in this price range. You can buy Money Shoulder Scotch from anywhere between $25 and $35.  There are many single malt and blended scotches that are over twice this price that are not as good.

Make Rob Roys with Monkey Shoulder

I used to think it was sacrilegious to make a mixed drink with a really good scotch. I changed my mind when a really good bartender at the Salt Lake City airport insisted on making the Rob Roy I ordered with Johnny Walker Black blended scotch. That was the best suggestion I ever had. A really good blended scotch makes an excellent Rob Roy and it’s even better with the Monkey Shoulder scotch. With a really good scotch I would use far less vermouth. My recipe goes like this: 4 parts scotch, 1/2 part dry vermouth, 1/2 part sweet vermouth,  and dash of bitters. Shake or stir in stainless steel shaker of ice and serve in a martini glass.

The best way to drink Monkey Shoulder is completely neat and by itself.  I think this is one of those scotches that will appeal to a wide variety of scotch enthusiasts. It’s light and smooth enough for new scotch drinkers, yet has enough character and just all-around good taste to appeal to even the hard-core laphroaig drinkers. Monkey Shoulder is 86 proof, but it goes down like vanilla and honey from start to finish.

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