So are you a Speyside mountain monkey or a bog monkey?
But who are these two monkeys?
Okay, we're going to talk more about the king of cocktails than the king of the forest! But I had to, I've been talking about single malts all this time.
And you will say, he has just made 2 blends in a row (Dewar's double double and Johnnie Waker Celebratory Blend) while the Whisky Feist is in full swing (virtual unfortunately). So, as two things are never said without three, I'm going to continue and tell you about the MONKEY SHOULDER!
As far as the history of the name MONKEY SHOULDER is concerned, I won't tell you where it comes from. But just in case, we remind you that it was chosen as a tribute to the distillery workers who often suffered from rheumatism by repeating gestures such as stirring the barley with a shovel in the malting area.
But beware, there will be something for everyone as we will taste here the MONKEY SHOULDER BATCH 27 (the sure friend of all well organised parties) and the SMOKEY MONKEY BATCH 9.
The mystery being quite large, we'll just have to taste them today and see how they vote!
The only thing I know is that both are up to scratch (but that doesn't get you too far)!
No actually these two MONKEY SHOULDERs don't hurt your back. They are both still Speyside Blended Malt, all of them for batch 27 (3 Speyside single malts) and most of them for batch 9 (which is composed of 2 Speyside single malts and 1 very peaty Highland). So they will be fruity and peaty for batch 9!
Let's first search in the list of distilleries of William Grant and Sons distillers Ltd (by whom it is produced) who can enter in its composition! On the Speyside side (from Dufftown to be precise), we have the great stag Glenfiddich, the magnificent The Balvenie and the young and promising Kininvie. The question is who will bring the smoky taste of Smokey!
Well, that's all well and good, but before we choose, what about the tasting?
Let's start with the Speyside Mountain Monkey and continue with its smokey buddy!
As for the colour, it is a slightly ambered gold colour.
We are told that it is fruity and sweet and frankly it is!
When the nose approaches the glass, sweet fruity scents appear (plum - pear). I can tell you that it will be sweet. If you let your nose linger in the glass, you will discover a hint of spice.
In the second passage we keep our plum and spices but we soften them to bring out malty hay aromas and a more and more honeyed sensation.
The third pass will be more floral (white flowers) and herbaceous (eucalyptus) with still a hint of spice (ginger) when left to linger longer in the glass.
When it enters the mouth it is with the sweetness of a vanilla cake. Nevertheless, a volley of spices quickly makes its entrance. The latter will remain very present on the tongue bringing freshness. One then distinguishes a very fine point of harshness and especially the taste of barley. Overall, the sensation is that of a thick and sweet pastry on which some spices have been slipped.
The finish, long flower, return of the spices and a pastry sensation in the mouth. Later on we find the more bitter sensation of a young whisky.
Overall this whisky is quite balanced and well marked by the spices. The nose is balanced and fragrant and the palate is smooth. On the other hand, do we expect something else from a blend?
Contrary to what one might think from the bottle, the colour of SMOKEY MONKEY is quite similar to that of BATCH 27: a golden colour tending towards amber.
But the comparison will stop there because the bog mate is a bit hairier (certainly a problem of humidity in the swamps!).
We are told that this whisky is intended for cocktails in which we want to add a "peaty pep"! PEATDREAM's word, we are not disappointed! We want peat and we have it! But be careful, we are not dealing with a peated single malt but with a blend with peaty aromas. The peat is an addition (very happy I think) to the sweetness of the original.
What about it?
The nose is not mistaken as soon as it enters the glass, it smells like a chimney fire, as if an oak log was being burnt and the whole thing was fanned with a peat bun. The smoke here will be warm and thick and sweet. As with its predecessor, it will be accompanied by spices (which have become hot because of the fire).
In the second passage, still surrounded by the sweet smell of smoke, we discover the smell of fresh barley accompanied by spices and a touch of vanilla.
The third passage will be more on the sign of orange citrus fruits and always of the spiciness of spices like cloves or cinnamon.
Anyway, it is called Smokey and it is not for nothing because the smoke is omnipresent. This is normal when you know that the aim is to add smoke to cocktails.
Two experiments to validate the presence of peat (if necessary!). The first one is usual as it consists in slipping a drop of the distillate into the hand. This will release the fire and tyre side of the distillate. The second requires a shaker. Make your favourite whisky-based cocktail. After shaking your cocktail well, it will adorn the top of your glass with a soft smoky foam!
Very sweet and mild on entry, but the spice comes through quite quickly. As in the BATCH 27, they come to call on the tongue to never leave it and launch their banderillas there. This whisky is mellow and has a sweet peaty finish. It resembles a vanilla pastry cooked over a wood fire. There is a hint of aftertaste at the end, but it will not last long, and the tasting will end on the warm sweetness of the peat.
The finish is less long than that of Batch 27 with notes of liquorice and star anise (of course).
Well, it's not easy to make a choice, but I think that my peat heart gives reason to the SMOKEY MONKEY.
By the way, according to the poll you allowed me to take on instagram, the bog one is the strongest with 57% of the votes (out of about 500 voters). Certainly more hairy than the mountain one!
Only one real piece of advice because we are not far from a tie, try the BATCH 27 before the BATCH 9 because I had the opportunity to try the opposite and believe me, it's not a good idea and I even put the liquid back in the bottle to get back to the SMOKEY.