Today’s article is one that is both long overdue and full of special anticipation. Because when I first held the beautifully shaped bottle with the three monkeys in my hands many years ago, I was directly in love with the design. I’ve always had a weakness for monkeys (it’s no coincidence that the blog mascot is a little monkey) and so I liked the Monkey Shoulder from the start. But well, design alone is not everything (on the contrary), it depends on the content. (provided test product)*
The Monkey Shoulder actually has nothing to do with monkeys – at least not in the true sense. Because although the makers have gratefully taken up the monkey theme for the design, the Monkey Shoulder is actually a strain that used to occur when turning malted barley by hand, as this activity had to be done by workers with shovels. So the reference to whisky is there.
The Monkey Shoulder is often referred to as Triple Malt Whisky, which is not really a common term, but it does refer to the contents of the bottle. In the bottle there is no single malt, but a blend of single malts from three different distilleries. Again and again one reads that these are the distilleries Balvenie, Kininvie and Glenfiddich, but this is not officially revealed. Also the age of the malts contained is a secret. In recent years, Monkey Shoulder Whisky has earned itself a very good reputation despite or perhaps because of its niche existence between single malt and blend – especially as a value-for-money ingredient. Because the price-performance ratio of this whisky is doubtlessly a good one: For this whisky bottled with an ABV of 40% (which is unfortunately coloured) you have to pay about 25 Euros.
Aroma: a flowery-fruity aroma with fine honey sweetness greets you from the glass. Behind it, spices and some heather, pears, quinces and light chocolate are waiting. You can scent the Speyside here really very well.
Taste: the Monkey Shoulder shows associations of sweetness and is generally very palatable. Vanilla, light fruit notes and a spicy undertone convince me from the beginning. The fruity notes tend towards pears again, but I can also make out peaches or yellow plums. A minimal citrus note also comes through with time.
Finish: spicy, with honey and some chocolate, medium long
For my Laughing Monkey, I once again used the really recommendable Darbo Weichselsirup (sour cherry syrup, which to my surprise seems to be rarely used in cocktails). With fresh lemon, Joerg Meyer’s very successful Dutch Cacao Creme de Cacao White and an egg white for a creamy consistency, as well as the fantastic Dr. Sours # 16 Papa Moi Bitters, the drink is a summery aromatic experience, but it should also taste great out of season. Cheers!
Recipe: “Laughing Monkey”:
6 cl Monkey Shoulder
3 cl lemon juice
2 cl Darbo Weichselsirup (sour cherry syrup)
1 cl Dutch cocoa cream de cocoa white
2 Dashes Dr. Sours Bitters #16 Papa Moi (if not available, leave out without replacement)
Preparation: First of all, pour all ingredients in a shaker and do a dry shake without ice first (alternatively foam up with a milk frother). Then shake vigorously with ice again and strain into the pre-cooled glass.
Glass: Tumbler or S.O.F.
Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online, for example at Conalco.
*The bottle for this review was provided to me by Conalco Spirituosen UG. The fact that this product has been made available to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not mean, however, that I have any influence whatsoever on the article content or my evaluation. Rather, it is for me always an unalterable condition to be able to review completely freely and uninfluenced.