$ — 43% ABV — No Age Stated
What do the makers of two of the world's top five single malts do in their spare time? Make a blend, of course! A nice, pleasing blend anyone would buy. It's a common story, only Grant didn't to do the expected this time. They made it 100% pure malt barley whisky; no cheap, mass-produced grain spirit at all. Fine. But then they really flipped the script: they priced it for less than $30.
Proudly stated on the bottle, Monkey Shoulder is a blend of only three whiskies. Two of them are very famous: Glenfiddich, the Balvenie and their little brother Kininvie. Because this is a blend of only single malts (sometimes called a vatted malt or a blended malt) it remains a full-flavored and characteristically salty-sweet Speyside whisky.
Strathspey has been the most popular Scotch region for a good while now, mostly because they retain those classic Scotch whisky flavors while not going off the deep end like the Islay whiskys. The sea is still as present as the land, but both are hidden under a veneer of sweet buttercream. Monkey Shoulder is young, yes, but that same youth makes it an asset to scotch cocktails. Most bars flaunting a Penicillin or Blood & Sand on their menu have a bottle of this behind the bar and you should too.
Kininvie closed after 20 years in favor of the newer and larger Alisa Bay distillery, which might already be present in newer bottles of Monkey Shoulder. It's likely the lesser-valued Kininvie is/was the majority share of the blend but since this is all one family, a consistent product is no doubt assured. Stress less; enjoy your damn Scotch.
W. Grant & Sons is located in Dufftown, Strathspey in northeast Scotland. Established in 1887 by William Grant, it remains an independent distiller.