Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is made for mixing. Sure, you can sip it on the rocks but this really is a mixing blend — that’s where it shines the brightest. Add a little high-quality fizzy water, ice, and a squeeze of lime and you’re set — perfect highball dram.
As a brand, Monkey Shoulder aligns with having a good time while mixing up good drinks. Case in point, they just launched a sweepstake wherein their new brand champion, Joel McHale, will crash your first date — for real.
Thanks to that promo (and the fact that I have an awesome job), I got to chat with McHale about Monkey Shoulder for the latest episode of my IGTV show, Expression Session. We planned on chatting about the whisky for about ten minutes but McHale was nice enough to stay on well over our allotted time, mostly because as two guys from Seattle, we ended up shooting the shit about the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle’s music scene. Turns out we were both at the same Nirvana concert in January 1994.
You can find the whole review/chat on our Instagram channel and at the end of this review. If you want to enter to win a chance for Joel McHale to crash your date, the entry form is found here.
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Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $36
This Speyside blend is crafted as a workhorse whisky. The juice is drawn from the William Grant & Sons distilleries, focusing on Kininvie, Glenfiddich, and The Balvenie. The juice is then rested for up to six months after blending to let it mellow even more before proofing and bottling.
There’s a nice welcoming note of creamy vanilla that almost becomes cream soda, next to hints of zesty orange marmalade, malts, and dark spices. The taste delivers on those notes by amping the spices up to Christmas cake territory with a slight tart berry edge next to that cream soda sweetness. The end is short and sweet with a nice lightness that really makes this very drinkable.
McHale’s succinct note: “There’s a hint of peat with a butter smoothness.”
Interestingly, the bottle is the same one that Balcones uses down in Waco, Texas. It’s a sort of old-school port bottle that feels like it’d stack well under the deck of a pirate ship. The bottle is adorned with three iron monkeys and a solid cork. The label is simple and keeps to the old-school theme with a sort of old hand-written bill of sale vibe giving you just enough information to know what you’re drinking.
We often call this out as one of our favorite mixing scotches and we stand by that. It’s a very accessible and available blended malt that delivers on what it promises — to be a great mixer.
90/100. As a blended malt made for mixing, this is a home run.
Check out our full tasting with Joel McHale below!
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