Monkey shoulder scotch is from Scotland, the largest country in Europe by land mass. It has some of the highest quality single malt scotches in the world. And yet, it is surprisingly affordable, given its great taste and lovely colour. This article will tell you all about the origin, distillation process, flavour and ageing.
First, let’s talk about the origin. Distilled from traditional grains like oats, barley and wheat, monkey is from the town of Glenllum, the oldest town in all of Scotland. Distilling the barley takes away much of the natural flavor, making this a wonderfully light and crisp youngish Scotch. Balvenie is the most important single malt in monkey; Balvenie-based scotches are usually more balanced and less fruity than other distillations. Balvenie-based scotches are also best with a youngish whisky, as they are young and sweet on its own or over ice.
Monkey shouldered is made with a blend of four different single malt whiskies, distilling only two of them. Distilling the entire lot allows distillers to add interesting character details to each individual expression. A rich caramel colour is achieved through the method of vatting, where the spirit is poured into several layers of plastic flasks, sealed with cappuccino marble and left to dry over the course of 24 hours. Each vintage is then carefully racked, scraped, rolled and sanded before being bottled for sale.
After leaving distilling, Monkey shouldered goes through a rigorous filtration process to remove any remaining impurities from the mixture. At this point, it’s put into oak barrels for further aging. The resulting blended scotch is smooth and creamy over ice and is known for it’s mellow character. The ageing of the blend continues until bottling. The bottling process is done in traditional French style, with corked bottles, but the result is no longer a single malt scotch. The aging process creates a richer amber coloured scotch with hints of vanilla and caramel.
When Monkey was created, distilling was not used because it was thought that distillation was too harsh for scotches to be properly extracted. So, how did it win the world’s first triple malt, a blend of three of the best single malt whiskies? Over boiling the alcohol was responsible for releasing the natural taste of the blend. It also added a light caramel flavoured character which works extremely well with fruity drinks like Vitex.
Monkey shouldering was one of the three whiskies selected for the original release of the “ICFA World Special Single Malt Scotch” in 1996. It is made using a blend of eight years old single malt Scotch, five-year-old port and two-year-old malt. All of which are bottled at 40% alcohol content. The mix of all of these makes this a very intense triple distiller’s blend. Distilled in Portland, Oregon the Monkey Shouldering is also considered an American single malt.
The other award winning single malt, which came in second, is made by the relatively young distilleries located adjacent to the is one of the youngest distilleries in Scotland, having started production of scotch only 23 years ago. They have named their distillery after themselves, and it is called Ollie. Their distillery was founded by a couple, who were the founders of a local bar. The bar itself dates back to 1797. Ollie was set out on a mission to create a single malt Scotch.
The three whiskies, that have just won awards in their respective categories are exceptionally sweet. Each one of them is a unique blend. One is named after the town of Balducci; the other named after Macaulay Island. The last is named after Loch Lein but is made from only the best single malt. The distillery itself dates back to the eighteenth century.