Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black

Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black: Which is Better?

In recent years, the popularity of blended whiskies has soared due to their smooth taste and affordability. When it comes to comparing two of the most popular blended whisky brands on the market – Monkey Shoulder and Johnnie Walker Black – I believe it’s hard to beat the flavour combination and complexity that these two whiskies create.

Monkey Shoulder is a blend of three single-malt Scotch whiskies. These fine spirits are aged in oak barrels before being expertly blended together, yielding a whisky with an intense aroma of fresh apples and spicy cinnamon. On the palate, its full-bodied texture presents flavours of honeyed barley, toasted oaks, and dried fruits. The finish is smooth yet rich with subtle notes of smoke.

Johnnie Walker Black, known as ‘the King of Blended Whisky’, is crafted from more than 40 single malt whiskies from across Scotland. It has an inviting nose of smoky peatiness and dark fruit aromas complemented by sweet vanilla spice notes on the palate. Its rich butterscotch sweetness lingers alongside hints of roasted coffee beans and nutty almonds in its long-lasting aftertaste.

Overall, both Monkey Shoulder and Johnnie Walker Black are outstanding examples of blended whisky that offer infinite possibilities for experimentation in cocktails. But we’ll get into all that in more detail in this article in the showdown of: Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black.

Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black: Quick Look Comparison

Monkey Shoulder

Monkey Shoulder

Nose: The fragrance of marmalade, Crema Catalana and cocoa with malt effortlessly permeates the air. A whisper of vanilla harmoniously combines with a pinch of winter spices like nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon while an exotic hint of aniseed ties it all together in one aromatic medley.

Palate: Delightfully creamy, with hints of berry fruit, toasted barley and cloves. Flavours of butterscotch, Manuka honey and hot-buttered toast complete the sensory experience – topped off with dried apricot.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and light

Finish: Medium-bodied with a distinct spiciness of oak and a refreshing menthol aftertaste that lingers on the palate.

Age: No Age Statement (NAS) However, it is vatted together for 6 months prior to bottling. But their combination of whiskies included in the blend is top secret.

Cask/Barrels: Whiskies, which are matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks, are vatted together in small batches for up to six months before bottling at 40% abv. 

Strength: 40% ABV / 80 proof

Price: £29 / $36

Johnnie Walker Black

Black Label

Nose: Winter spices, treacle and citrus fill your nostrils with a dash of white pepper.

Palate: This drink is deliciously full-bodied with smoky, spicy flavours and malty undertones. The toffee sweetness makes it a treat for your taste buds, while the delicate herbal aroma adds an extra layer of pleasure.

Mouthfeel: An indulgent, comforting oiliness lingers on the palate

Finish: This full-bodied and robust wine has an indulgent palette of sultanas, mixed peels, and other subtle nuances.

Age: 12 years

Cask/Barrels: Oak Casks

Strength: 40% ABV / 80 proof

Price: £26 / $32

Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black: Monkey Shoulder

Monkey Shoulder offers a distinctively creamy and smooth flavour profile that makes it one of the most unique blended whiskies on the market. The nose carries an aromatic medley of marmalade, Crema Catalana, cocoa and malt with a whisper of vanilla and a hint of winter spices such as nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. On the palate, notes of berry fruit, toasted barley and cloves are present, followed by an exquisite blend of butterscotch, Manuka honey and hot-buttered toast.

To round out this flavourful whisky is a satisfying finish of dried apricots. The superb balance between sweet and spice gives Monkey Shoulder its signature character. Each sip has a velvety texture that provides a welcoming mouthfeel. Carefully crafted from three single malt Scotch whiskies aged in oak barrels, Monkey Shoulder is bottled at 80 proof / 40% ABV strength which adds to the complexity without overwhelming your taste buds.

From its inviting aroma to its deliciously complex flavour profile full of sweet and savoury notes, Monkey Shoulder stands out among other blended whiskies as an exceptional example of how masterful blending can result in truly remarkable spirits.

Monkey Shoulder was developed for mixing, but its unique and complex flavour profile has won it the admiration of many whisky enthusiasts who consider it good enough to drink neat. Its creamy and smooth texture, make it an ideal choice for those wanting to explore the world of blended Scotch whisky.

The superb balance between sweet and spice gives Monkey Shoulder its signature character which makes it stand out among other blended whiskies. Even whisky purists will appreciate the complexity in flavour and texture that can be found in each sip of Monkey Shoulder. So if you’re looking to explore the art of blending Scotch whisky or just enjoy a truly remarkable spirit, look no further than Monkey Shoulder!

Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black: Johnnie Walker Black

Johnnie Walker Black Label is an iconic Scotch whisky that is renowned for its deliciously full-bodied flavour profile. Blended and aged for a minimum of 12 years, this premium whisky is a perfect combination of malts and grain whiskies from five distilleries in Scotland.

My grandfather was an avid whisky enthusiast, and his favourite whisky of choice was Johnnie Walker Black Label. He enjoyed its deliciously full-bodied flavour profile that comes from being blended and aged for at least 12 years. He appreciated the perfect mix of malts and grain whiskies sourced from five different distilleries in Scotland which created a complex palate of winter spices, treacle, citrus and white pepper when nosed.

On the palate, he could taste smoky spicy flavours with malty undertones and toffee sweetness that added an extra layer of pleasure to his whisky experience. The finish was indulgent with a comforting oiliness that lingered on the palate while sultanas, mixed peels, and other subtle nuances provided an added complexity to his beloved whisky.

My grandfather would often pair his whisky with a cigar or some dark chocolate after dinner when he wanted to relax. He especially enjoyed having Johnnie Walker Black Label neat as this allowed him to appreciate the complexity of flavours which were so distinctively unique for this particular blend. It wasn’t just about the taste for him; it also took him back in time to memories of sharing special moments with family and friends over whisky at gatherings.

Johnnie Walker Black Label always held a special place in my grandfather’s heart; it was the one Scotch whisky he could always rely on for delivering exceptional quality every single time.

The nose offers a mix of winter spices, treacle, citrus and white pepper that lead to smoky, spicy flavours on the palate.

Johnnie Walker Black Label has an indulgent texture with an oiliness that coats the palate. Bottled at 80 proof / 40% ABV strength, this Scotch whisky will satisfy both casual drinkers and purists alike. Its multifaceted flavour makes it ideal for sipping neat or using as the base of classic cocktails such as a Rob Roy or Whisky Sour.

Whether you’re looking for a robust whisky to round out your evening or something special to impress your guests, Johnnie Walker Black Label delivers in spades. Its unique blend of malts creates a one-of-a kind experience for experienced Scotch drinkers as well as those just starting their journey into the world of whisky.

Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black: The comparison

Johnnie Walker Black Label is the original blended malt, but Monkey Shoulder is a relatively new kid on the block but is certainly making waves.

For generations, Johnnie Walker Black Label blended Scotch whisky has been a timeless classic. Combining carefully picked whiskies from five of Scotland’s premier distilleries and maturing them in oak barrels for 12 years creates the perfect flavour profile that defines this exquisite blend.

Alternatively, Monkey Shoulder brings a contemporary outlook to whisky blending. This three-fold malt blend of Speyside‘s Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie single malts is adeptly mixed together before in a vat and held there for at least 6 months – this simple process generates the distinctive character of this smooth and creamy whisky with prominent fruity flavours.

Johnnie Walker Black Label and Monkey Shoulder stand out from each other with their unique characteristics. For example, Johnnie Walker Black Label has an intense smoky flavour on the palate thanks to the combination of grain and malt whiskies used in its production process while Monkey Shoulder boasts rich fruit notes coupled with subtle winter spices that provide complexity on the palate.

When it comes to aromas, both whiskies offer something special. Johnnie Walker Black Label has a nose of winter spices like nutmeg and cinnamon as well as treacle, citrus fruits, and white pepper while Monkey Shoulder possesses sweet floral fragrances complemented by hints of honeyed almonds and vanilla cream.

Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black: Food Pairing

Monkey Shoulder Food Pairing:

Monkey Shoulder is an incredibly versatile whisky, so it pairs well with a variety of different foods. Its sweet notes and creamy texture make it an excellent accompaniment to fruity deserts like baked apples and crumble.

Apple Berry Crumble
Apple Berry Crumble

It also goes great with dishes that contain dark chocolate or nuts due to the whisky’s warm nutty flavour.

Dark chocolate tart
Dark chocolate tart

For those looking for something more savoury, Monkey Shoulder is a natural match for aged cheeses like cheddar and brie as the whisky helps to cut through the richness of these strong-flavoured cheeses.

Mature Cheddar Cheese
Mature Cheddar Cheese

When it comes to snacks or appetisers, this Scotch whisky works nicely with cured meats such as salami or chorizo.


The smokiness of the charcuterie will be balanced out by the sweetness of Monkey Shoulder’s notes while its mild spice profile lends itself nicely to enhancing flavours like garlic or chilli.

Alternatively, if you want to pair your whisky with something lighter, consider pairing it with oysters on the half shell which will bring out both light fruit and floral notes in Monkey Shoulder’s character.

Johnnie Walker Food Pairing:

Diageo (the makers of Johnnie Walker Black label) themselves recommend cheese platter for Johnnie Walker black label.

cheese platter
Cheese Platter

Johnnie Walker Black Label is a 12-year-old whisky with a smoky, spicy and complex flavour profile that makes it perfect for pairing with cheese. The whisky’s intense smokiness will help to further enhance the flavour of any strong-flavoured cheeses such as cheddar, gouda or brie whilst its subtle winter spices like nutmeg and cinnamon add a delicate sweetness that pairs well with milder types of cheese such as goats’ milk varieties.

Gouda Cheese
Gouda Cheese

When creating your cheese platter, it is important to consider the wide range of flavours present in Johnnie Walker Black Label. For example, you could include an aged cheddar to bring out the whisky’s smoky notes or add a goat’s milk cheese to bring out the hint of sweetness. You could also include some nutty cheeses like gouda or manchego which will pair beautifully with the whisky’s nutty notes.

Adding accompaniments such as nuts, fruits and honey can also elevate your cheese platter experience with Johnnie Walker Black Label. A few slices of pear or apple will bring out the whisky’s fruity notes while dried fruits, such as apricots, figs or dates can provide a nice contrast against its smokiness. Adding some walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts can further increase the depth and complexity of flavours on your plate. Finally, drizzling some honey over your selection of cheeses can provide a sweet balance to the smoky spiciness in Johnnie Walker Black Label for an unforgettable pairing experience!

Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black: Cocktails

Monkey Shoulder and Johnnie Walker Black Label were both designed with cocktails in mind. Monkey Shoulder was created to be a ‘mixable malt’, which means it can be easily blended with other liquids and ingredients to create delicious whisky-based cocktails. Its smooth texture and rich depth of flavour make it an ideal base for a variety of drinks such as the classic Old Fashioned or the more modern Monkey Margarita.

Johnnie Walker Black Label, on the other hand, was crafted specifically by master blenders to add complexity and depth to cocktails without overpowering them. The whisky features bold smoky notes which enhance any classic whisky cocktail like the Rob Roy or Manhattan. Its spicy sweetness also makes it great for tiki-style drinks like the Zombie or Mai Tai where its festive flavours can really shine through.

Both whiskies are also incredibly versatile when it comes to different types of mixers, from ginger ale and fruit juices to tonic water and vermouth. There are endless possibilities for combining these two iconic whiskies in unique ways that showcase their individual characteristics–allowing you to craft your own signature cocktail creations! Check out some of these recipes:

Monkey Shoulder Cocktails

Monkey Shoulder Old Fashioned recipe

Whisky Old Fashioned Cocktail
Whisky Old Fashioned Cocktail

To make this classic cocktail, you’ll need 60ml of Monkey Shoulder blended malt whisky, 3 dashes of orange bitters and 10ml of simple syrup.

Begin by filling a rocks glass two-thirds full with ice cubes.

Next, add the whisky followed by the orange bitters and simple syrup.

Give everything a good stir until all the ingredients are mixed together before finishing it off with a twist of lemon or orange peel as garnish.

The Monkey Margarita is a fun and refreshing twist on the traditional margarita cocktail. It begins with 30ml of Monkey Shoulder blended malt whisky, 20ml triple sec, 15ml lime juice and 10ml simple syrup.

Start by adding the whisky, triple sec and lime juice to a shaker filled with ice cubes.

Shake the ingredients together until they are thoroughly combined then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.

Finally, add 10ml of simple syrup before garnishing with a slice of lime or orange peel. Enjoy!

Monkey Margarita
Monkey Margarita

Johnnie Walker Black label cocktails

Johnnie Walker black label Zombie cocktail recipe

This potent concoction is perfect for those who enjoy bold flavours as the smoky notes in the whisky blend perfectly with the citrusy zing from the lime juice while the sweetness from the orange liqueur and grenadine perfectly balance out the tartness.

Zombie Cocktail
Zombie Cocktail

The Angostura bitters also provide an earthy depth to this dynamic drink while enhancing its aromas and flavours. Whether you’re looking for something fruity and refreshing or simply want to enjoy a delicious whisky-based cocktail, this classic Zombie recipe won’t disappoint!

The Johnnie Walker Black Label Zombie is a classic tiki-style cocktail that packs a flavourful punch.

To create this delicious drink, you’ll need 60ml of Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky, 30ml of white rum, 15ml of lime juice, 10ml of orange liqueur, 10ml of grenadine syrup and 4 dashes of Angostura bitters.

Begin by adding all the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice cubes before shaking vigorously for about 15 seconds.

Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with a slice of orange peel and maraschino cherry.

Johnnie Walker Black Label Mai Tai recipe

Mai Tai Cocktail
Mai Tai Cocktail

The Johnnie Walker Black Label Mai Tai is a dynamic cocktail that brings together sweet, spicy, and smoky flavours. This cocktail showcases the complexity of the Johnnie Walker Black Label as its smoky notes are balanced out perfectly by the sweetness from the orange liqueur and the tartness from the lime juice. The addition of Angostura bitters also enhances its aromas and adds an earthy depth to this flavourful drink. Whether you’re entertaining guests or just enjoying a quiet evening in, the Johnnie Walker Black Label Mai Tai is sure to please!

To make it you will need 60ml of Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky, 15ml of orange liqueur, 15ml of lime juice, 10ml of simple syrup and 4 dashes of Angostura bitters.

Start by combining all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice cubes.

Shake vigorously for 15 seconds before straining into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.

Finally, garnish with an orange slice and a fresh sprig of mint.

Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black: Final Thoughts

An intriguing confrontation between Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black whisky blends, each brand provides an exclusive blend of flavours and aromatics.

Monkey Shoulder is a unique triple malt whisky, crafted from three single malts of differing distilleries. With delectable notes of honeyed caramel and vanilla paired with the slightest hint of smoke, this lower alcohol content (40% ABV) whiskey is softer on the palate than most other whiskies – perfect for those who enjoy lighter drinks! Enjoy it in your preferred cocktails such as a classic Whiskey Sour or Margarita to experience its multifaceted complexity firsthand.

Johnnie Walker Black Label, on the other hand, is a 12 year old blend made from up to 40 different Scotch whiskies. Its smooth texture makes it ideal for mixing in tiki-style drinks such as the Zombie or Mai Tai cocktails.

Ultimately, which whisky is better between Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black will come down to individual preference as they each offer something unique to suit different tastes. However, if you’re looking for something light and youthful then Monkey Shoulder might be the better choice whereas if you’re looking for something more robust and flavourful then you can’t go wrong with Johnnie Walker Black Label!

Author’s pick

It’s a tough choice when debating Monkey Shoulder vs Johnnie Walker Black, however, I think the old traditionalist in me would have to go with the Black Label.

Johnnie Walker Black Label is my personal favourite whisky for its complex and distinctive flavour profile. With its blend of up to 40 different Scotch whiskies, it offers an incredibly smooth taste with hints of smoke, fruits, and spices that make it perfect for sipping on its own or in a variety of classic cocktails.

After its intense twelve-year ageing process, this whisky has a more elevated and fully developed flavour than others of its class. The infusion of Angostura bitters creates an earthy undertone to the scent that flawlessly complements the orange liqueur’s sweetness and lime juice’s sharpness for an indulgent experience.

All things considered, my preference lies with Johnnie Walker Black Label in the whisky market. It boasts an unparalleled complexity and depth of flavour that is unmatched by its competitors. The ingredients are specially chosen and aged for 12 years to perfect this exquisite drink – truly a one-of-a-kind experience! Don’t miss out on trying it yourself – I highly recommend it!

Still want to read a little more about Monkey Shoulder? We’ve compared again in our article: Monkey Shoulder vs Chivas Regal Or are you still a little unsure about Johnnie Walker Black Label? Why not compare Macallan 12 vs Johnnie Walker black in our article here.

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