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Chivas Regal 12 vs Monkey Shoulder: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Chivas Regal 12 vs Monkey Shoulder in this in-depth comparison and decide which Scotch whisky is better for You!

Chivas Regal 12

  • Nose: Apple, vanilla, lemon curd
  • Palate: Apple, malt, oak, caramel, pepper
  • Finish: Short, pepper
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Highball
  • Similar to: Buchanan’s 12


The nose is full of apple juice aroma, along notes of vanilla and lemon curd.

On the palate Chivas 12 is quite light with not much body, it has oak notes with a touch of caramel and hints of green apple, cinnamon and black pepper.

Finish is short and light with peppery notes and a bit of heat to it, but not harsh.

Is it good?

Nothing special or remarkable about the Chivas 12 but nothing terrible.

I would not drink it neat as I feel it somewhat peppery and bitter but it makes a decent dram to mix with soda making an enjoyable highball.

The taste is not bright, but everything that is needed from a Scotch is present and its price makes it appealing.

Not the easiest whisky but mixed with soda becomes quite competent.

Chivas 12 facts:

  • This whisky is a blend of grain and malt whiskies crafted in an undisclosed number of distilleries across Scotland. 
  • Each one of the whiskies in the blend was aged for at least 12 years before bottling.

Monkey Shoulder

  • Nose: Marmalade, vanilla, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon
  • Palate: Malt, vanilla, orange, honey, oak
  • Finish: Caramel, oak spice
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Cocktails
  • Similar to: Glenfiddich 12


The nose brings a marmalade aroma, with hints of vanilla, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon.

On the palate, the Monkey Shoulder feels smooth and creamy with very little heat on the first sip. Hints of vanilla, orange and honey pop-up, followed by a bit of oak spice bitterness.

The finish is short, with a tad of caramel and more oak spice bitterness to it.

Is it good?

The Monkey Shoulder becomes better when adding a drop of water as it becomes sweeter, while subduing the oak spice note.

Monkey Shoulder is an easy whiskey, good choice for those new to whisky looking for something approachable and affordable.

Where this whisky shines is in cocktails as its flavor profiles mixes incredibly well in any cocktail.

The Monkey Shoulder is not a single malt whisky but a blend of single malts coming from 3 prestigious Speyside distilleries: Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and Kinnivie.

It can’t be considered a single malt as the set of regulations that govern Scotch whisky require single malts to be made at a single distillery.

Monkey Shoulder facts:

  • This whisky is a blend of malts with no age statement.
  • The name Monkey Shoulder comes from an injury that the maltmen (those that hand turn the grain in a malthouse) would get as it would leave one arm hanging.
  • This brand is owned by William Grant & Sons who owns prestigious brands like Glenfiddich and Balvenie.

Chivas 12 vs Monkey Shoulder: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Chivas Regal 12$36
Monkey Shoulder$37

Chivas Regal vs Monkey Shoulder: Which is better?

The Monkey Shoulder is a smoother whisky than the Chivas

WhiskeyChivas Regal 12Monkey Shoulder
  • The Monkey Shoulder is great Scotch whisky for newbies as it is quite smooth and easy to drink and is also a great mixer to make cocktails.
  • Chivas Regal is a bit peppery and thin making a better whisky to make and Old Fashioned but definitely not one of my favorites.
  • It’s still very popular among the boomer generation but has lost its appeal among younger generations who are more fonds of easier and sweeter whiskies.

Differences between Chivas Regal and Monkey Shoulder

There is one major difference between these whiskies that you should know:

  • Chivas Regal is a blend of malt and grain whiskies aged for a minimum of 12 years crafted in several distilleries across Scotland.
  • Monkey Shoulder is a blend of single malt whiskies produced in 3 of the most prestigious distilleries from Scotland but not a single malt whisky. According to the United Kingdom’s Scotch Whisky Regulations a single malt must be made exclusively from malted barley, distilled using pot stills at a single distillery.

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