Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Added colouring: Yes
Owner: William Grant & Sons
Average price: € 35.00
Official website: www.monkeyshoulder.com
Every now and then it’s pleasant (as well as educational) to take a break from more or less important bottlings to sample ‘mass’ products, returning to the roots of this blog whose intent has always been to offer a sort of library dedicated to all whiskies, from the most emblazoned to the most common.
Approaching a blended malt (therefore made from single malts only) born in 2003 on behalf of William Grant & Sons, created by Brian Kinsman initially with whiskies from Balvenie, Glenfiddich and Kininvie, while today it’s declared as a generic vatting of Speyside scotch, in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks.
The name is inspired by the hunchbacking to which the malting workers were subjected, who had to constantly bend their backs to turn the barley on the floor.
Don’t be mislead by the wording on the label ‘batch 27’, as it doesn’t indicate the increasing batch numbering but refers to the use of twenty-seven casks to create the blended in its initial recipe.
The vocation is mixology, so it’s not a product designed for straight drinking, but it’s still interesting to know what goes into a cocktail.
There is also a peated version, which will pass through these pages sooner or later.
On the nose, the speysider nature is clearly evident, with flowers and fruit emerging from the glass in a fruit salad of peach, apricot, apple, pear, heather, hyacinth and a drop of grapefruit. Nuts (almonds, walnuts), honey and nutmeg form the backdrop, all traversed by a bright malt note, tending towards yeasty bread. A mineral vein emerges along the length. Simple but not without character.
The same evocations can be found on the palate, although with less vigour, with nuts and spices (to which black pepper and ginger are added) tending to take over, leaving the fruit in the background, expressed more in the citrus notes. The mineral/vegetal vein also grows, with malt, vanilla and honey relegated to the background. The texture is light as expected, but not evanescent.
Short and dry finish, with the mineral and vegetal notes driving the evocations of nuts, spices and a slight salty accent.
For the purpose for which it is made, all in all it’s quite drinkable, and it’s certainly more enjoyable than other cheap blends on the market, which might justify its price. Definitely worth a taste, perhaps not the purchase of a bottle.