Playing host to over 50 distilleries, Speyside has the greatest concentration of malt whisky producers compared to any other whisky producing region of Scotland, including the Highlands (of which Speyside is a sub-region), the Lowlands or the island of Islay.
As a style, Speyside whiskies are usually lighter and sweeter than other Scotch single malts. As they grow older, they develop body. Typical flavour characteristics include green apple, vanilla, oak, dried fruit and nutmeg.
The Speyside region has the vast majority of all the Scotch distilleries, and thus there is a great variation. Aside from the lighter, honeyed single malts, there are also a small group of distilleries which produce a heavily sherried style Speyside whisky. Glenfarclas and The Macallan, for example, produce big bodied whiskies, The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich distilleries produce the most classic, typical Speyside drams, and both are world famous.
In 2005 legendary Malt Master David Steward of William Grant & Sons decided to create the world’s first triple malt combining single malts from three of Speyside’s finest distilleries. The whiskey Monkey Shoulder is a mix of single malts from Kininvie, together with single malts from Balvenie and Glenfiddich distilleries, both owned by William Grant & Sons.
The term ‘ Monkey Shoulder’ has a bit of whiskey heritage. It’s a reference to a condition that maltmen sometimes pick up while working long shifts, turning barley by hand. This had the tendency to cause their arms to hang down like a monkey’s, so they nicknamed it ‘Monkey Shoulder’. Today, although working conditions have changed, the name Monkey Shoulder lives on as an affectionate tribute, to honour the hard graft of all the maltmen past and present.
This superb blend, has resulted in a smooth, creamy, supple and very malty Scotch which is superbly well neat, over ice or in whiskey cocktails. According to the Monkey Shoulder website: “Some say it tastes just like riding bareback on the wild moors of Scotland with a flame haired maiden on Christmas morning. Others agree it tastes like 007 wearing a tuxedo wetsuit.” This is whisky to be enjoyed! We can’t wait for Monkey Shoulder to launch in India soon!