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Monkey Shoulder is a brand of whisky owned and produced by William Grant & Sons, distillers of other brands like Glenfiddich and Drambui.

In Nigeria, roasted groundnuts (of the type served in bars) are sold in alcohol bottles by road side hawkers. I don't know where the practice came from. I am not a drinker partly due to culture and partly because I tried quite a few of the alcoholic drinks - vodka, whisky, gin, wine, beer - and just didn't like them. Except for gin and tonic which was prescribed to me by a friend one time I had a persistent cough, and it worked. So, I have no opinion on the taste or any other qualities of this drink. My uninformed opinion is that most spirits taste alike and I wouldn't be able to differentiate one whisky from another or even one spirit from another. Despite not being a drinker, I admire drinking culture. The drinks are usually packaged attractively. Each drink has its own type of glass - shot glass, snifter, wine glass, tumbler etc. I am also fascinated by how each is drunk; some are sipped, others are quaffed, while others are gulped. I find all the variation interesting. Anyway, I bought some groundnuts in a Monkey Shoulder bottle and that is how I came across it.

The bottle is a flat bottomed, round shouldered, long necked, squarish, cylinder with a cork. The logo is 3 monkeys, precariously perched one above another. Written on it's side is a story about the name. It comes from a condition that afflicted distillery workers due to using large heavy malt shovels. The condition, which was probably a repetitive strain injury, caused their arms to hang down like a monkey's and thus the name. Learning its origin reduced the amusement I had felt at the name. I thought it rather bad taste, profiting from the misfortune that proles suffered as they were exploited. That they are dead and their condition now seems quaint does not make the situation less bad. I suppose this bit sounds like I am judging the past by today's standards.

There isn't any information either on the producer's website or on the product's about when the drink was first made. This is odd given how things like this put so much stock on pedigree. Further, the producer's website showily talks about how it began production in Glenfiddich in 1887, so the absence of this story for Monkey Shoulder is probably due to it not existing. Maybe it is a recent product, and while that is not an indication of low quality, is certainly an indication of less than sufficient cachet. Further, the product's website is rather garish, unlike the producer's which has pictures of people in old fashioned clothes doing old fashioned things. The drink's site has quite a few suggestions on how it should be consumed - cocktails and such. I didn't read any of the recipes as they are of no use to me.

The drink is a blended whisky. There is some disagreement between those who prefer single malts and those who are fine with blended ones. I have no opinion on this dispute and since I am not about to go out and try this one, I am unlikely to have one ever.

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