Monkey takes top spot from Man
It’s true, the monkey is on top. Monkey Shoulder has topped Johnnie Walker as the best-selling Scotch whisky among the world’s top bars. According to the 2019 Brands Report, compiled by industry magazine Drinks International, bartenders named Monkey Shoulder the best-selling and trendiest Scotch whisky. Johnnie Walker came second best-selling Scotch (am thinking it’s the red label), with Laphroaig in third place. The report is compiled from a survey of award-winning bartenders, bar owners, managers and head bartenders working for award-winning bars around the world. Monkey Shoulder was named the preferred Scotch at 22% of bars, with Johnnie Walker named by 17%. Monkey Shoulder released a peated– Smokey Monkey – after repeated calls from bartenders for a smoky, mixable blended malt. Blends (including Monkey Shoulder) accounted for 40% of the best-selling Scotch whiskies, and just 20% of the most asked-for brands. Personally, I like a monkey now and again, the Fiddich folks have done a great job here, a superb blended malt from William Grant, made with three Speyside distilleries Balvenie, Glenfiddich and Kininvie all owned by the Grants. The result is a smooth, creamy, supple and very malty Scotch which works superbly well neat, over ice, or in whisky cocktails (where it really excels). Rooted in Malt Whisky History, inspired by the malt men who turn the malting barley by hand, a malt man’s skill is turning the barley by hand. Years ago, malt men would develop a strain injury known as Monkey Shoulder. The whiskies, which are matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks, are vatted/blended together in small batches for up to six months before bottling at 40% abv. Nae grain in here by the way.