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Glenfiddich 12 vs Monkey Shoulder: Discover the Better!

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

Glenfiddich 12

  • Nose: Floral, ripe fruit, honey
  • Palate: Fruity sweetness, pear, oak
  • Finish: Medium, pear, oak
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Add water
  • Similar to: Jameson


On the nose, the Glenfiddich 12 offers a light aroma with a floral note, along fruity notes and honey.

On the palate, this malt has a decent body. Flavor offers fruity sweetness up-front, followed by a hint of pear and a tad of oak.

The finish has a decent length, with no warmth to it, with an aftertaste of pear and faint oak.

Is it good?

If I was new to Scotch, this would be a friendly introduction; if you are an experienced aficionado you are going too find it too friendly, perhaps boring.

The Glenfiddich 12 is a clean and sweet whisky, nothing complex, nothing great but nothing off-putting, is just a smooth and mellow fruity dram.

No harshness and no traces of smoke make it the best option for newbies curious about single malt Scotch or liquors in general.

Glenfiddich 12 has been the entry-level bottle to the fantastic world of single malt whisky for many people including me and for a good reason: 

Glenfiddich is a solid, smooth and yet affordable single malt.

Glenfiddich 12 facts:

  • Is aged for a dozen years in a combination of used American oak and European sherry oak casks.
  • Glenfiddich has been in business since Christmas Day 1887 when William Grant founded the distillery.
  • Glenfiddich is the best-selling single malt across the globe.
  • This is Speyside whisky, these whiskies are known for being smooth, creamy, fruity and commonly matured in Sherry casks.

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: Jack Daniel’s


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 Scotch but a blend of single malts coming from 3 different distilleries across Scotland.

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.

Consider further options by reading my post with Similar Whiskies to Monkey Shoulder!

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.

Glenfiddich vs Monkey Shoulder: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Price Whisky
Glenfiddich 12$52
Monkey Shoulder$37

Glenfiddich vs Monkey Shoulder: Which is better?

Use the Glenfiddich as a sipper and the Monkey Shoulder as a mixer

WhiskeyGlenfiddich Monkey Shoulder
  • The Glenfiddich is perhaps the best entry-level single malt Scotch as it has no off-putting notes and is extremely easy to drink.
  • A well-traveled aficionado might find it somewhat bland but this an easy sipper meant for newbies.
  • Monkey Shoulder is good, although it has some rough edges as it hits with some oak spice bitterness making a better whisky to make cocktails.

What do the Glenfiddich and the Monkey Shoulder have in common?

They are owned by William Grant & Sons

The Monkey Shoulder is made from single malts crafted at different distilleries, and one of them is Glenfiddich, while the other two are Balvenie and Kinnivie.

These distilleries are owned by William Grant & Sons headquartered in Scotland.

What’s the difference between the Glenfiddich and the Monkey Shoulder?

Glenfiddich is a single malt whisky whilst the Monkey Shoulder is a blend of single malts.

Technically, they are the same thing, but the set of regulations that govern Scotch Whisky demand that only whiskies crafted at a single distillery can be labeled as single malts despite being made exclusively using malted barley.

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