Arctic Monkeys. The Infinite Monkey Cage. Twelve Monkeys. Good things can come with simian-themed titles. So, what about this whisky?
Monkey Shoulder is a blend from William Grants of different Speyside single malts that is very available and inexpensive to pick up. More recently they have been more guarded about the constituent malts, but it was previously known to be a blend of Balvenie, Glenfiddich and Kininvie.
Despite the fact this is a blended malt, the initial nose is akin to that of a grain blend with an alcohol whiff and notes reminiscent of toasted bread by a swimming pool. Left for a while to open I can detect honey, orange, pear brandy, toffee, light wood and some floral hints. All very quiet: nothing complex but nevertheless attractive in its simplicity.
There is a pleasant warmth on the palate with orange, grapefruit and grain alcohol. On some sips this youthful “grainy” trait appears as a slightly intrusive soapy savour and a back-throat burn, remedied by a few drops of water. The finish is short and lightly sweet.
All in all, Monkey Shoulder is a decent dram but not one I’d go back to. Apparently, it was created to try and tempt bourbon drinkers into Scotch and their website additionally states that it is a premium blended malt made for mixing. I like it well enough - I do like it - and I ought not be too hard on it, but this is to "premium" blended malts as The Monkees are to The Beatles.