This is, I think, the first blended whisky to appear in this year's advent calendar. It's another a whisky I've tasted before, which is always an opportunity to see how my tastes have developed!
Apparently, the name 'Monkey Shoulder' comes from an injury common to maltsters who spent too much time turning mountains of barley on the malting floor - an alcohol version of Tennis Elbow, if you like.
Monkey Shoulder is a blend of Speyside whiskies - Kininvie, Balvenie and Glenfiddich - and is very much marketed is a whisky for mixing. I've never been much one for cocktails though, so the only mixing I'll be doing is with a splash of water.
The nose is a little raw; subtle honey notes and fresh barley underneath quite a harsh grain alcohol. Over time, some milk chocolate comes through, and ripe citrus. Watered, the honey and fruit fades and it becomes more spiced.
The raw grain alcohol shows through in the mouth too, almost obliterating a dark honey sweetness, dates and hints of spice. Water reins in the alcohol, but unfortunately does the same to much of the other flavours too and leaves it as a fairly flat, unimpressive dram.
This may well work great in a cocktail, but as a drinking dram it's disappointing - there are no major flaws, it's just unexciting. 2 stars.
This review was originally published 12th December, 2014. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.