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Monkey Shoulder: World’s first triple-malt Scotch

Monkey Shoulder Love whisky but want to drink
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  Monkey Shoulder!

RESPECTED DISTILLER William Grant & Sons have come up with Monkey Shoulder — the world's first triple malt Scotch whisky. And it's set to establish whisky as the style drink of today.

Balancing the authentic with the contemporary, Monkey Shoulder is leading the way in changing the image of traditional whisky. It has already caught the attention of the country's leading bartenders with the smooth and rich qualities of malty sweetness that make it as ideal for mixing cocktails — such as Monkey Magic, Monkey on Coke and Ginger Monkey — as it is for drinking straight, with water or simply poured over ice. But whether you mix your drinks or take Monkey Shoulder as it comes, you'll savour the great taste with its subtle hints of vanilla, marmalade and barley sugar.

Using only malt Scotch whisky from three of Speyside's finest distilleries, Monkey Shoulder is crafted in small batches of just 27 casks. It is named in honour of the malt men who, while bending over to turn the malting barley with a shiel (a heavy wooden shovel), would often end up with a temporary repetitive strain injury nicknamed 'monkey shoulder'. Although William Grant & Sons' malt men are among the few still turning the malting barley by hand, modern working practices have ensured the condition no longer exists.

The iconic bottle design, with three brass monkeys on the bottle's shoulder — representing the three constituent single malts — is sure to attract 'confident, liberal-minded people with discerning taste'. Shortly after its launch, the appropriately-named new whisky rubbed 'monkey shoulders' with the cast of King Kong and VIP guests as they celebrated the premiere of the film in the Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London.

A selection of cocktails inspired by the film was available, including the King Kong Kick, Monkey Manhattan and Skull Island Sour — a smooth fruit-infused twist on the classic Whisky Sour and created by Dre Masso of the Worldwide Cocktail Club. Monkey Shoulder's Brand Ambassador Xavier Padovani, came up with the King Kong Kick, a drink not for the faint-hearted, with ginger, lime and a spicy hint of fresh chillies. And Julien Gualdoni of Trailer Happiness (CLASS Magazine's Bar of the Year 2005) has created the first-ever solid whisky cocktail, the Solid Manhattan — frozen islands of Monkey Shoulder with a sweet cherry twist.

The Thirties-themed Monkey Shoulder New York Whisky Bar buzzed with excitement as cocktail genius Peter Dorelli — with 35 years at the Savoy bar under his belt — mixed up Monkey Manhattans in his sophisticated trademark style.

With its smooth, rich, distinctively mellow taste, rounded and complex, Monkey Shoulder — recently awarded an incredible 93 out of 100 by whisky aficionado Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible 2006 — is earning its stripes in all the right places.

Nidal Ramini, Head Bartender of London's Dusk, enthused: "The texture is incredibly smooth and the taste profile edges towards a sweeter finish, almost bourbon like, which I think will make it more appealing for non Scotch drinkers." Whisky Magazine's Editor, Dominic Roskrow, describes Monkey Shoulder as "fun and modern" and "as good an introduction to Scotch as you could want". Class Magazine's Bartender of the Year 2005, Myles Davies, head barman at Green & Red in East London, describes it as having "an amazing range of flavours that make it a very mixable product". And of the battle for the "coolest spirit", Angus Winchester, Theme Magazine's Global Trends, says: "Rum may have had the headlines in the summer, but we see a winter of Scotch ahead with Monkey Shoulder elbowing its way forward."

William Grant & Sons' Malt Master, David Stewart — the man behind the world's best-selling single malt Scotch, Glenfiddich, and esoteric single malt, The Balvenie — said that "taking three single malts and marrying them together to create a whisky with an exceptional smooth finish, which still retains key Speyside characteristics, has been a fascinating challenge." He added: "I hope people enjoy drinking Monkey Shoulder as much as I've enjoyed making it."

MOTORBAR'S PANEL of taste testers were equally impressed with Monkey Shoulder and tried it completely naked — the drink, that is!

Paul Robinson is an avid fan of malt whiskies and says one his main aims in life is to try (at least once!) every malt whisky to come out of Scotland. He said he was wary of the name as it suggested a suspect Chinese import, but once he'd learned of its respected Grant & Sons heritage, he was keen to try it. He says: "I have not been disappointed. It has a pleasant aroma reminiscent of light treacle, but not too strong and overpowering. The taste is smooth, with a mild delicate flavour that rests on your palate. A nice whisky to sip either before or after a meal or simply on its own and it's a good substitute for after-dinner brandy. Monkey Shoulder is as good as some single malts I have tasted and it doesn't lose any of its charm if a splash of water is added. I see myself drinking Monkey Shoulder watching the sun sink low into the summer sky or snuggling up by a winter fire. Another winner for Grant & Sons."

Peter Brownlow has drunk malt whisky all over the world, but admitted that Monkey Shoulder was a nice surprise. He describes it as having a "rich, well-rounded flavour and an ideal introduction to anyone who may not be aware of the treat that lies ahead from the jealously guarded world of malt whisky." It has, he says, "a smoothness comparable to the movement of a prestigious Swiss watch, without the sharpness or sting of some whisky." With a flourish of his glass, Peter's words to the uninitiated are: "If you have not yet experienced Monkey Shoulder, what anticipation, what excitement awaits!"

Maggie Woods, MotorBar's Features Editor, loves the retro bottle. "Yes," she says, "it is important to establish brand imaging." She found Monkey Shoulder "smooth and different, easy to drink with an unusual aftertaste. Quite exciting really!" She adds: "This one is no shrinking violet — it demands to be noticed. There's a slight tang of bitter oranges and a suggestion of caramel. It's unforgettable and it comes as no surprise to hear it's winning over experts and bartenders alike."
Maggie Woods, MotorBar

Monkey Shoulder is available in Apt 195 and The White House, Oloroso and 30 other stylish bars across London and Scotland and also from Selfridges, Peckham's, whisky specialists and online at drinkon, royalmilewhiskies, thewhiskyexchange and,
of course, monkeyshoulder.

Monkey Shoulder Cocktail Recipes


50ml Monkey Shoulder Triple-Malt Whisky
25ml lemon juice
5ml Briottet fig liqueur
10m Gomme syrup

Shake all ingredients together and strain into an old-fashioned sour glass. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a fresh cherry.


50ml Monkey Shoulder Triple-Malt Whisky
3 drops Angostura Bitters
3 Pieces Fresh Ginger
5 Peps from a red chilli Pepper
Top up with Ginger Beer

Muddle the red chilli pepper peps with the fresh ginger and Ango in a Boston glass before adding Monkey Shoulder. Add ice and shake well before straining into a highball glass and top up with Ginger Beer. Garnish with half a red chilli pepper with a squeeze of lime.


50ml Monkey Shoulder Triple-Malt Whisky
5ml Noilly Prat Dry
30ml Noilly Prat Red
Dash Angostura Bitters
Dash Maraschino cherry juice

Put ice into mixing glass, wash ice with Angostura Bitter, add Monkey Shoulder, Vermouth and the Maraschino cherry juice. Stir on ice and pour into a Martini or Champagne cocktail glass.