Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Whisky is a combination of 3 different Speyside whiskies mixed together in small 27 barrel batches. The bottle I’m reviewing comes from batch 27 and I won’t lie, there is a part of me that finds extreme satisfaction in that symmetry. Made from a combination of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie this silky smooth and fruity sweet whisky comes with a sidecar of history.
For more information on the whisky named after a work-related repetitive stress injury we turn to the bottle at hand which states: “The skill of the malt man is demonstrated when he turns the malting barley with a shiel (wooden shovel). Years ago some malt men used to develop a temporary strain known as Monkey Shoulder, but working practices have changed and thankfully the condition no longer exists… Inspired by their craft, we’ve created Monkey Shoulder…” Painful sounding condition, but a darn tasty whisky.
Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Whisky Info
Region: Speyside, Scotland
Producer: William Grant & Sons Ltd.
Mashbill: 100% malted barley (blend of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie)
Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Whisky Review
Big complex orchard and tropical fruit followed by malty sweetness, red licorice a bit of spice and caramel. The fruit is fantastic, but beyond the rich fruit notes things get a bit light.
Same complex fruit, malt, licorice and spice from the nose but the flavor brings in some additional notes of cream soda, juicy fruit gum and some grassy undertones. It’s still not a deep “thinkin’ whisky”, but good golly is it tasty.
Medium length and fruity with notes of grassy malt and earth.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Excellent balance with what’s there, medium body and a smooth, almost oily, texture.
Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Whisky has a rich fruity character that’s well balanced and comes across the senses pleasantly, but kind of ends there. It’s kind of like that friend who doesn’t say much but is always polite and everyone likes him.
This is batch 27 and since they bottle such small batches (27 barrels per batch) there’s likely several different batches on the shelves right now so take that into consideration if you pick up a bottle, but if the other batches are anything like this one they’re a good buy.
EDIT: Per a quote from DrinkHacker the Batch 27 thing is just for decoration. Thanks to Abe for pointing that out.
‘Batch 27 refers to the original Monkey Shoulder batch which was 27 casks vatted together. The original vatting was made from our three distilleries we have on our site in Dufftown… Kininvie, Glenfiddich & The Balvenie (sometimes affectionately known as the KGB).
Because Brian Kinsman can’t possibly batch it in those numbers anymore we line up runs of 27 at a time for vatting. Occasionally using other distilleries in the mix, but always three Speyside distilleries and always in first fill American oak (i.e. first time they’ve been used in Scotland).’”
Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Whisky Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 85
- Palate - 86
- Finish - 85
- Balance, Body & Feel - 88
$30 bucks for a well balanced blend of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie? Yes please. Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Whisky is definitely a good value.