Maker: Wm. Grant & Sons, Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland, UK
Style: Blended Single Malt Scotch (Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Kininvie)
Michigan state minimum: $33
Appearance: Medium copper with a lot of necklacing and legs.
Nose: Sweet malt, vanilla, sage, alcohol, old oak, serrano peppers.
Palate: Medium bodied and semi-sweet. Vanilla buttercream, strawberry, butterscotch, sweet cinnamon.
Finish: Dry and long lasting. Crème brûlée, alcohol, oak.
Parting words: The success of blended malts like Sheep Dip and especially Compass Box’s offerings led older, older companies to take notice. Monkey Shoulder, released in the UK in 2005 was Wm. Grant & Son’s response, and it’s a dammned good one. A blended malt (formerly known as a vatted or pure malt) is a blend of all single malts. This is different from a standard blended Scotch because it contains no grain whisky, only malts.
The family resemblance to Grant’s blended whisky (the last Scotch I reviewed) is evident, but it’s much more complex, as one might expect. Like Grant’s, this is a very tasty whisky at a good price. For a top notch blended malt, it’s impossible to beat. Grant’s marketing folks keep pushing it as a mixer but it’s so good neat that I couldn’t bring myself to mix it with anything.
Monkey Shoulder is highly recommended.