Monkey Shoulder is a blend of Speyside single malt Scotch whiskies which are married together for flavour 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 flavours to this Scotch. It also has no grain whisky whatsoever anywhere in or even near the drink. It’s barley all the way, folks. The name Monkey Shoulder might sound funny, but it has a history in whisky-making. The maltmen who used to turn the barley would take long shifts, using their dominant arm significantly while working. At the end, their shoulders would droop on one side, an ailment that became known as “Monkey Shoulder.” Today, nobody working at Monkey Shoulder actually has the affliction, though the barley still gets turned by hand. Working conditions are much better than they used to be. The name sounds cool and harkens back to the old whisky making days. Monkey Shoulder tastes delicious neat, with a splash of water, and on the rocks. It stands out in mixed drinks, too, given its orange and vanilla flavours with a bit of spice.
Mixing with Three Monkeys
If you are a bartender or want to show off with your freshly gained mixing skills at home or a party, you will need a strong foundation to build your flavours onto. Three monkeys hanging out on a shiny glass of whisky, who will always there for you in case you need some inspiration. Although this blended malt goes well on the rocks, we are going to enlighten its divine cocktail-capabilities.
If we want to simplify the definition of single malt whisky a bit, we call it drinks that are made in the same distillery, and contain only barley, however no malt or grain. Between single malt and blended scotch (fusing malt and other grain whiskies), we find an intermediary approach, blended malt, which brings together malt whiskies made in different distilleries’ unique copper cauldrons. The addition of grain whisky is strictly forbidden, so they would achieve a whole other category and purity.
The name ‘Monkey Shoulders’ reflects onto the historical way of whisky-making: malted barley is turned by hand by malt men using large heavy malt shovels. Years ago, some malt men would develop a strain injury which tended to cause their arm to hang down a bit like a monkey’s, so they nicknamed it ‘monkey shoulder’. As nowadays most of the process is automated, requiring less footwork and more supervising, monkey shoulders are rather replaced by ‘bad chair waist’ or ‘monitor neck’.
The main aspiration behind creating this wonderful blended malt was to offer a strong alternative to a new generation of bartenders, who are constantly working hard to innovate their ways of mixing. The Monkey Shoulder was born in 2005 and received more publicity after landing in the US in 2012, moreover, thanks to perhaps the best bartenders in America, in 2015 it was already considered the trendiest scotch. In 2019 it outsold Johnnie Walker and became the best selling and most loved whisky (according to a report based on a survey interviewing award-winning bartenders and top bar owners/managers).
Its scent has everything that reminds us of the great ingredients: brown sugar, warm vanilla, Dutch syrup wafers appear in it, and we can also discover baked apple notes as a third or fourth scent. With a few drops of tasting water, the apple is pushed into the background and the vanilla is pushed into its place. The earthy, serious, natural taste, which makes many (yet) not fond of whisky, is not dominant, so it is a pleasant drink in itself (on the rocks) and it is easy to accept even for novice scotch drinkers.
Perhaps the most popular of Monkey Shoulder’s stirred drinks is a cocktail, officially named Ginger Monkey, which is a whisky topped with a carbonated ginger drink, served with a fragrant orange clove and ice. With ginger and orange, called Old Fashioned, as the basis of the espresso martini, or just with apples, tiny oranges, and mint!
Although many think that whisky should only exist on the rocks, three classic Scotch-based cocktails made it to the best-selling list last year: Blood & Sand (Monkey Shoulder, vermouth, cherry liqueur and orange juice), Penicillin (Monkey Shoulder, fresh lemon juice, honey-ginger syrup, single-malt scotch), Rob Roy (Monkey Shoulder, vermouth, Caribbean bitters).
Monkey Shoulder Whiskey Price in Malaysia
You can get the best price of Monkey Shoulder in Malaysia from LavoWine.
If you are opting in for a cocktail, don’t hesitate to call three monkeys for support!