Monkey Shoulder Review and Guide

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Monkey Shoulder is a delightful whiskey produced by the world-famous William Grant and Sons. Premium Monkey Shoulder Whiskey is distilled from three Speyside Distilleries in Scotland. First Introduced in 2005, this young whiskey is rapidly growing in popularity and achieving numerous gold, silver, and bronze awards along the way. Monkey Shoulder whiskey is silky smooth, supple, and creamy. It offers lovely tastes of winter spice and vanilla. Additional flavors of berry fruit, toasted barley, and butterscotch balance this premium blend perfectly. The finish is smooth and memorable.

bottle of monkey shoulder whisky

Pros and Cons of Monkey Shoulder Whiskey

Pros

  • Monkey Shoulder is an outstanding blended malt whiskey from William Grant and Sons
  • Triple blended with premium single malts from three historic Speyside Distilleries
  • Smooth, supple, and creamy with high levels of malt
  • Tastes of vanilla and winter spice are well-balanced by notes of butterscotch, toasted barley, and berry fruit
  • Smooth and memorable finish
  • It can be enjoyed, neat, on the rocks, or in whiskey cocktails
  • Well Priced
  • Accessible
  • Well Packaged

Cons

  • Monkey Shoulder Whiskey excels in all areas. I am unable to come up with a suitable con at this time

Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch | Drizly

Monkey Shoulder is a blend of Speyside single malt Scotch whiskies married together for flavor and consistency. The richness and vibrancy combine with fruity aromas and mellow vanilla, making it perfect for mixed drinks and cocktails. Monkey Shoulder casks are former bourbon casks, which add smooth vanilla flavors to this Scotch. It also has no grain whisky whatsoever anywhere in or even near the drink. It's barley all the way, folks.

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What Does Monkey Shoulder Whiskey Taste like?

Monkey Shoulder is a premium whiskey with a delicate and complex flavor profile. It is silky smooth, supple, and creamy, and with high levels of sweet malt goodness. It offers tastes of aniseed, spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla. These notes are balanced by flavors of butterscotch, toasted barley, and berry fruit. The finish is smooth and memorable.

The Color

Monkey Shoulder whiskey looks elegant and enticing and looks good in both the bottle and in a glass. Additionally, it adds an attractive color to whiskey cocktails. It is light brown with a hint of copper and a touch of amber.

The Ingredients

Monkey Shoulder whiskey has been expertly distilled using quality and all-natural ingredients:

Water: All three of the Speyside Distilleries use crystal clear spring water from the nearby Robbie Dhu spring. Natural spring water is ideal for producing world-class whiskey as it contains large amounts of natural minerals and high levels of purity.

Malted Barley: The all-natural barley is initially steeped in pristine spring water sourced from a spring in the nearby hills. The grain is then carefully spread across a traditional malting floor (there are only a handful of traditional malting floors left in Scotland). The malt men then turn the barley by hand using shovels and wooden paddles until the malted barley is ready for the kilning process. The kilning process dries the malted barley out using a specific amount of peat and anthracite. This process adds depth and further complexity to these quality whiskeys.

Yeast: William Grant and Sons use liquid yeast, but the exact strain is a closely guarded secret. This yeast is referred to as a Speyside yeast and is utilized in all three Speyside distilleries.

What’s in a Name

Monkey Shoulder is a tribute to all the malt men around the world that turn the malted barley by hand. The traditional malt whiskey distillation process involved the malted barley being turned over (mixed) by hand using wooden paddles and shovels. Often, this laborious process would cause injury to the shoulders of these upstanding gentlemen. To find some relief from the pain, they would hang their arms low like monkeys. This injury became known as “Monkey Shoulder” and is the inspiration for this exceptional blend.

monkey shoulder scotch

Monkey Shoulder Whiskey Nutritional Information

Monkey Shoulder Whiskey is made with the finest all-natural ingredients.

  • Calories: 97
  • Carbohydrates 0 g
  • Sugars: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0,42 mg
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Alcohol: 14g

Monkey Shoulder Whiskey Cocktails

Below are four quality whiskey cocktails to be enjoyed with premium Monkey Shoulder Whiskey:

French Monkey: French Monkey is one of my favorite whiskey cocktails and a great way to impress your guests or friends.

Ingredients

  • 60 ml x Shoulder Whiskey
  • 15 ml x St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 30 ml x Apple Juice
  • 30 ml x Soda Water
  • Lemon Zest Twists (Garnish)

Method

Thoroughly shake Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, Elderflower Liqueur, and Apple Juice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into an old-fashioned glass and add the soda water. Garnish with Lemon Zest Twist and enjoy.

Monkey Splash: This is a whiskey cocktail that is both tasty and refreshing.

Ingredients

  • 30 ml Monkey Shoulder Whiskey
  • 1 x Fresh Orange Wedge
  • 45 ml Soda Water

Method

Fill a whiskey glass with three blocks of ice and cover with Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. Add the Soda Water and orange wedge, no need to stir.

Dirty Monkey: The recipe creates a tantalizing creamy and fruity cocktail loaded with notes of tropical fruit. It is the perfect whiskey cocktail for hot summer days around the pool.

Ingredients

  • 60 ml x Monkey Shoulder Whiskey
  • 60 ml x Fresh Pineapple Juice
  • ½ x Ripe Banana
  • 30 ml x Kahlua Liqueur
  • 10 ml x Chocolate Syrup
  • 10 ml x Coconut Cream
  • 1 x Cup of Ice

Method

Add ice and all ingredients except for the chocolate syrup into a blender, generously coat the inside of a high-ball glass with chocolate syrup. Blend ingredients until smooth, pour and enjoy.

Lazy Old Fashioned: The Lazy Old Fashioned is a classic and one of the pioneers of the whiskey cocktail movement. It is simple to make, looks great, and tastes delicious.

Ingredients

  • 60 ml x Monkey Shoulder Whiskey
  • 1 x Teaspoon of Natural Brown Sugar
  • 5 ml x Orange Bitters or Angostura

Method

Place the sugar at the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Add the orange bitters, add three blocks of ice, and pour in the Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. No stirring, no garnish.

The Packaging

Monkey Shoulder is professionally packaged and offered in 750 ml (25 oz) clear glass bottles. The bottle is nicely shaped with curved shoulders and features an old-school cork top to lock in the goodness. There are three forged monkeys fixed to the shoulder of the bottle which adds a nice visual touch. The label is classic with a light-brown background, and black and copper font.

Where Can You Purchase Monkey Shoulder Whiskey?

Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch | Drizly

Monkey Shoulder is a blend of Speyside single malt Scotch whiskies married together for flavor and consistency. The richness and vibrancy combine with fruity aromas and mellow vanilla, making it perfect for mixed drinks and cocktails. Monkey Shoulder casks are former bourbon casks, which add smooth vanilla flavors to this Scotch. It also has no grain whisky whatsoever anywhere in or even near the drink. It's barley all the way, folks.

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Monkey Shoulder has grown in popularity over the past decade and is now in high demand all over the world. This fine whiskey can be purchased from privately owned, regional, and national liquor outlets. Monkey Shoulder can be purchased from Supermarkets such as Tesco and Walmart. Regional and national liquor distributors like US Spirit Suppliers and Empire Merchants regularly ship Monkey Shoulder Whiskey across the United States. Monkey Shoulder can also be purchased online, there are numerous companies such as Reservebar, Flaviar, and Wine.com that will deliver quality Monkey Shoulder whiskey directly to your door.

About the Distilleries

William Grant and Sons are the largest privately owned whiskey producer in Scotland and impressively, it is the third-largest whiskey producer on the planet. Monkey Shoulder is expertly blended using premium single malt from three iconic Speyside Distilleries in Dufftown, United Kingdom.

William Grant and his nine children built the Glenfiddich Distillery and opened it on the 25th December 1887. Glenfiddich whiskey rapidly evolved into a well-respected and highly sought-after whiskey. Since 2000, the Glenfiddich range has received more awards than any other whiskey.

Balvenie was the second distillery opened by William Grant in 1892. The distillery instantly started producing premium whiskey with the main focus being quality and consistency. In 2006, the Balvenie Distillery received gold awards for its Founders Reserve 10-Year-Old, Balvenie Portwood 1991, Balvenie New Wood 17-Year-Old, Doublewood 12 Year Old, Portwood 21 Year Old, and Balvenie 30. This was a record haul of gold medals at the International Spirits Challenge.

Kininvie was the third distillery opened by the company in 1990 and produces premium single malt whiskey. Most of the whiskey produced by this distillery is used as a blend to create William Grant and Sons blended whiskeys. The most popular William Grant and Sons blended whiskey are Clan MacGregor. Clan Macgregor is an average blended whiskey with a high percentage of grain whiskey.

Additional William Grant and Sons Products

Below are three quality whiskeys produced by William Grant and Sons.

Glenfiddich 21 Year Old

glenfiddich 21 year old

Glenfiddich Grand Reserve Single Malt Whiskey has patiently matured for 21 years, on-site at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, United Kingdom. Glenfiddich 21-year-old is an outstanding whiskey that offers bold rich notes, synonymous with traditional Speyside whiskey. Glenfiddich Grand Reserve delivers lovely tastes of vanilla, toffee, figs, floral, and fresh banana. Additional earthy tastes of freshly cut oak and new leather, are followed by a remarkably smooth and satisfying finish. This fantastic whiskey offers an Abv of 40%.

Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky | Drizly

Glenfiddich Gran Reserva 21-Year-Old single malt Scotch whisky is an exquisite, traditional Speyside whisky aged for 21 years, our innovative rum cask finish adds extra sweet and exotic notes, creating a rich, decadent and luxurious single malt. Best enjoyed neat, on the rocks, with a splash of water, or with club soda to expand the flavor.

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Kininvie Single Malt Whiskey

KININVIE Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Kininvie Single Malt is another fantastic Speyside whiskey produced by the Kininvie Distillery in Dufftown, United Kingdom. This excellent 17-year-old single malt is used in the production of Monkey Shoulder whiskey and offers tastes of sweet malt, rich sherry, and candied fruit. Additional tastes of apples and creamy toffee are followed by a long and lingering finish. Kininvie Single Malt offers an Abv of 40%.

Balvenie 21

Balvenie Malt 21 Year Old Portwood Single Malt Whisky

Balvenie 21-year-old single malt is proudly made by the Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown, United Kingdom. It is made using natural Barley and Peated Barley malt and delivers delicate flavors of honey, natural cocoa, floral, raisins, white grapes, and red fruit. The finish is smooth and memorable with a slight trace of bitterness from the natural cocoa. Balvenie 21-year-old single malt whiskey offers an Abv of 47,6%.

The Balvenie PortWood 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky | Drizly

The Balvenie PortWood 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a marriage of rare Balvenie aged 21 years in traditional oak casks and then finished in port casks or “pipes”. The taste is refined and with remarkable character, it is creamy and silky on the palate, with fruit, honey, and spice notes. 

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Monkey Shoulder Whiskey Alternatives

Below are five quality alternatives to Monkey Shoulder Whiskey:

Chivas Regal 12-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whiskey

Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky

Chivas Regal has earned a reputation for producing premium whiskey since 1786. The Chivas Regal 12-year-old Blend is consistently the highest-selling Scotch whiskey in the Asia Pacific and Europe. This quality whiskey offers tastes and aromas of butter toffee, aniseed, and vanilla custard, with soft notes of dried banana and freshly-cut wood. Chivas Regal 12 year old is exceptionally smooth and offers an Abv of 40%.

Chivas Regal 12 Year | Drizly

Scotch Whisky /40% ABV / Scotland

Chivas Regal 12 Year Whisky is a blend of many different malt and grain Scotch whiskies, matured for at least 12 years. This rich, smooth blend balances style with substance and tradition with a modern twist.

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Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 Year Old Blended Scotch Whiskey

Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Year old Blended Scotch Whisky

Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 Year Old is a gold medal award-winning whiskey, and one of those whiskeys that you must sample if you are given the opportunity. It is full-flavored and remarkably smooth, with lovely notes of juicy dark fruit and fresh vanilla. This luxurious 18-year-old blended whiskey offers exceptional levels of smoothness and an Abv of 40%.

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Centenary 18 Year Old Blended Scotch Whiskey | Drizly

Indulge all of your senses with a smooth glass of Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years Blended Scotch Whisky, a blend of up to 18 different Scotch whiskies each chosen for their remarkable depth of flavor and character. Our award-winning whisky blends big, classic Johnnie Walker flavors with intriguing contemporary notes of citrus and fragrant almonds. Smooth, creamy vanilla and warming malt pairs beautifully with tropical tangerine on the palate. 

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Dewar’s 18-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whiskey

Dewar's 18-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whiskey

This 18-year-old is the signature whiskey of the Dewar Distillery in Aberfeldy, United Kingdom. This delightful double fashioned blended whiskey delivers rich notes of roasted nuts, marzipan, and dark bitter chocolate. It is considered to be the ultimate post-dinner beverage with a smooth, flavorful, and rewarding finish. Dewars 18 Year Old Blended Scotch Whiskey is a multi-award-winning whiskey with an Abv of 40%.

Dewar's 18 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky | Caskers

The 18-year-old blended "double aged" Dewar's is an exceptionally smooth award-winning dram with a rich profile that includes fruity, dark chocolate, and marzipan notes.

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Old Parr Blended Scotch Whiskey 

Grand Old Parr 12 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky

Old Parr Blended Scotch Whiskey is owned, distilled, and distributed by Diageo, United Kingdom. Old Parr Blended Scotch is matured for 15 years and is rich and full-bodied. It is slightly warm as it goes down with a hint of pepper. It delivers lovely tastes of malt, creamy toffee, and dried fruit. The finish is smooth, long, and lingering. Old Parr Blended Scotch Whiskey is pleasant, enjoyable, and offers an Abv of 43%.

Dimple Pinch 15-Year-Old Whiskey

Dimple Pinch 15-Year-Old Whiskey

Dimple 15-year-old is a master blend from the Haig Distillery in Scotland. This exceptional whiskey is a blend made up of more than 30 malt and grain whiskeys. Dimple Pinch 15-Year-Old is light and drinkable. Delivers lovely aromas of sweet caramel, rich toffee, floral, and earthy wood. It offers delicate tastes of toffee, butterscotch, spice, pepper, and earthy wood. Dimple Pinch 15 year old offers a smooth and rewarding finish and an Abv of 43%.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 
Question: Is Monkey shoulder a good whiskey?

Answer: Monkey Shoulder is an outstanding blended malt whiskey produced by William Grant and Sons. This lovely Scotch is blended with three premium single malts, each from one of the three iconic Speyside Distilleries. Monkey Shoulder whiskey delivers high levels of malt and is supple, silky smooth, and creamy. 

Question: Can you drink Monkey Shoulder straight-up?

Answer: Monkey Shoulder is versatile and can be enjoyed straight-up, on the rocks, or in whiskey cocktails. It is a triple malt that has been created to be the perfect whiskey mixer by blending three premium malts from the three Speyside Distilleries. Monkey Shoulder excels as a whiskey mixer but is just as enjoyable straight-up on the rocks.

Question: What is the best way to drink Monkey Shoulder?

Answer: Monkey Shoulder whiskey can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in whiskey cocktails. It has been created as a mixer whiskey, and whiskey cocktails are where this Scotch shines. Monkey Shoulder whiskey can be used as an alternative for Gin, Rye, and Bourbon, and pairs well with citrus and oranges.

Question: Is Monkey shoulder a good beginner whiskey?

Answer: Monkey Shoulder is a great whiskey choice for beginner and experienced whiskey drinkers, particularly those that enjoy a lighter and sweeter bourbon style whiskey. It is expertly crafted from a blend of premium single malts, this means that there is no grain in the whiskey. Monkey Shoulder offers sweet fruity tastes and aromas with delicate notes of fresh vanilla.

Question: Is Monkey Shoulder top shelf?

Answer: It most certainly is, not only is Monkey Shoulder an intricate blend of three premium whiskeys but it is born of generations of passion and rich distilling heritage. Premium whiskeys such as Kininvie, Glenfiddich, and Balvenie don’t belong in discount bins or on bottom shelves but belong up on the top shelf with the best whiskeys in the world.

Conclusion

Monkey Shoulder is a world-class whiskey created by joining three world-class single malts from the iconic Speyside Distilleries. This excellent whiskey was introduced to the market in 2005 but has already won numerous gold, silver, and bronze awards. It is smooth, subtle, and creamy with delicate flavors of vanilla and winter spice (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg). Sweet flavors of butterscotch, toasted barley, and berry fruit balance this blended Scotch perfectly. Monkey Shoulder delivers a finish that is smooth and memorable.

I like this whiskey. I like the taste, the look, the price, and the packaging. I enjoy the sweet notes and the smooth finish. If you enjoy easy-drinking whiskeys such as light and sweet bourbon, you will enjoy Monkey Shoulder. I enjoy the taste whether it’s straight-up, on the rocks, or in whiskey cocktails. I enjoy sipping on a neat Monkey Shoulder after I have had dinner and start to unwind. It’s a great whiskey to share with friends by creating refreshing whiskey cocktails around the pool on a hot summer’s day.

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Gavin Eales

Gavin Eales is a whisky lover. He enjoys both the taste and the science behind it. He doesn't let price get in the way of his favorite drinks and wants to share all his tips with the readers on Whiskey Watch. Why are you giving advice on Whiskey Watch? I am advising on Whiskey Watch because I love whisky, not just sipping on the delicious end product but also the science behind the distillation process. I have always been amazed at how whiskey distillers can create such an incredible offering using such few all-natural ingredients. What is your favorite Whiskey? My favorite whisky is Jameson Select Reserve. I love the tastes of vanilla, spice, and nuts and the sweet aromas of toffee, caramel, and butterscotch. Additionally, it is exceptionally smooth and reasonably priced when considering its pedigree. Where does your passion for Whiskey come from? My passion for Whiskey comes from my grandfather. Sitting on the recliner after dinner with a whisky was his favorite time of the day. Whenever my parents weren't around, he would give me a sneaky sip, and this is how I acquired the taste and where my love for whisky originated. If you could give people a word of advice regarding Whiskey, what would it be? If I could offer whisky enthusiasts a word of advice, it would be that they should not let their decision be affected by the price. Often consumers believe the most expensive whiskeys are the best whiskeys, but from my experience, this is not necessarily the case. I would encourage them to sample and explore as many brands and styles of whisky as possible before deciding which is the best option for them.