Monkey Business

Courtesy photo

Last week, my girlfriend and I went to dinner at a favorite restaurant of ours. As we often like to do, we sat at the bar for our meal and drinks. That is where I noticed on the shelf, a bottle of blended Scotch whisky called Monkey Shoulder.

I had heard of it before, but had never tried it. And it seemed popular at this establishment as I saw the bartender pour it for others quite often. So why not? After all, it’s research.

Monkey Shoulder is relatively new in the world of Scotch whiskies, having been introduced in 2005. But it comes from an old lineage. It is a blended Scotch and when first introduced, was a blend of its parent company’s (William Grant & Sons) three single malts – Balvenie, Kininvie, and Glenfiddich.

While it is still 100% malt (no grain used like some other blends), it is not always these three. Increased production due to demand has resulted in blending in other single malts sources elsewhere. The reviewers say that it has not affected the quality.

This blend, according to the distillers website, was specifically designed to be mixed, in contrast to most others that are made to be sipped neat or on the rocks. That being said, I tried it with a large cube of ice after my dinner and found it smooth, rich and complex. In other words, I enjoyed it.

I bet you are asking yourself by now, why is it called Monkey Shoulder?

Well, it turns out that historically during the distillation process, the malted barley used to be mixed by hand with shovels. As you can imagine, this was very labor intensive and often caused shoulder injuries, causing the arms of the workers to hang low like a monkey’s. So yes, we have a whisky named after an injury.

And lastly, the greatest thing about Monkey Shoulder blended scotch whisky is the price point. You can find it at the stores for around $30-35 for the 750ml. Enjoy!!