08 June 2012

The Friday Belt: Monkey Shoulder Scotch & Jaws


I had been hearing a lot about a blended malt whisky called Monkey Shoulder -- available only in the U.K. and blended from Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie, it's a lower priced Scotch but considered a huge value for what it is. Tony Sylvester brought my first bottle on a visit to the US although it may, if not already, be available in the U.S. Look for it.



Bonobos gave me a needlepoint belt with a scene from Jaws. While photographing this Friday Belt, I noticed how thin the belt, made by Tucker Blair was and turned it on it's side. The leather backing seemed much thicker than the actual needlepoint.



For comparison, I yanked a J McLaughlin belt off the Corby Press and was surprised by the contrast. Only a thin backing to thick needlepoint. I won't comment on the quality of leather, stitching and overall workmanship. The Bonobos/Tucker Blair belt retails for $95 while J Mac's belt retailed for $195. Contrary to Tucker's description, "Really awesome" it's not. Of course, people today use "Awesome" to describe tap water so it's all relative.



Which is why J Mac no longer offers a needlepoint belt. I wrote a lot about their belts here. That's price competition for you and I suppose that's what consumers want. The best price. For 22 years, my clients put me in a tight pair of shoes and would laugh as they'd ratchet me down. That's what I want when I buy a blended single malt Scotch. Monkey Shoulder is $30 versus Johnnie Walker Blue Label at $200.



Actually, I'd like a Monkey Wrench better than JW Blue. But who am I -- It does makes me wonder. Are the same people who'll drop $200 for a mediocre Scotch, the same people who'd pick a mediocre needlepoint over something of obvious quality? What are your thoughts? The best comment- pro or con - get's the belt. Size 38. Never been worn. It's really...that, "A" word.

41 comments:

bob said...

Here's some price point competition, buy a case of six Monkey Shoulders for $30 less than a bottle of blue next time you're back in Chicago. http://www.binnys.com/spirits/Monkey_Shoulder_Blended_Malt_Scotch_Whisky_163546.html

Silk Regimental said...

Glad to see Friday Belts are back... I've enjoyed them in the past.

james at 10engines said...

Any second I hope Guiseppe will light this board up w/ a great blend he recently came across (can't remember the name or would drop it myself...).

It is an age old question; that of look vs quality. See recent Givenchy Shark shirt at $320. Can't be a discussion of the quality of the shirt itself I hope?? ("listen, it's a REALLY comfy shirt... Made by lefthanded herbivores at moonlight" etc)

Sure, I have a few belts made of glorified compressed cardboard, and never found a 'breakfast whisky' that did't work for me - but do like that Lamnidaen cincture.

Alice Olive said...

I don't believe quality and price tags are automatically positively correlated. Not in this world, anyway.

NB: This is not an attempt to win the belt - it doesn't go with my aesthetic.

Unclelooney said...

Screw quality! What I look for in a cloth belt is stain resistance/camouflage. I also like plaid boxers but perhaps I am giving some of the mystery of unclelooney away.....

GSV JR said...

smile you sonofabitch

Unknown said...

Tintin, They're probably not all the same people but I bet they would overlap on the Venn Diagram of "showing poor choices with lucre". Some are in the "That label's worth a lot" camp while the others are in the "Needlepoint belts are all about $200; no one will know." Still, I WISH I could find a good needlepoint belt for under a hundred (my wife can't even find the kit to make it...so sad).
I would like to think that I wouldn't end up on that Venn diagram myself, but a pair of $70 dollar Weejuns instead of something more beloved in the blog world, is going to suit me for the rest of my life.
BTW, I'm reading Peter Benchley's Jaws right now...great start to the summer.
Happy Friday!

Brohammas said...

I am a fat man in a thin belt world. Those of us with empty wallets are doomed to but the inexpensive belt as we simply don't have one hundred anything. Our cheaply stitched belt will fall apart and our pants will fall down and our plaid boxered selves will be humiliated. Exposed as cheap bafoons who haven't the reason to buy a "good" belt, we will not be allowed to rise in this world and will remain penniless with bad belts.
Shame.

randall said...

I think you can see her tits.

Oh and my scotch of choice had always been Johnnie Walker black. I used to drink it neat in a bar in San Diego that would charge about $5 for a juice glass full, then I got married to my wife who's uncle gets an bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue from his company every year for Christmas and he doesn't drink the stuff. More of a vodka man himself, so me and my brother-in-law get free reign on the stuff. I didn't think it was all that until we finished a bottle and then were left to resort to the black label and it was like drinking barbed wire.
My wife's grandfather won't touch the Blue Label, he's a Dewer's guy. So I guess the moral is fuck the price and to quote Boogie Nights, "Wear what you dig."

Anonymous said...

Who buys cheap belts and overpriced blended scotch? The same dipstick who leases a new 7 series, lives in a cookie-cutter McMansion, sports a $12 Great Clips hairdo, and can't fathom your blog.

Don't waste your time trying to understand such a person.

Makaga said...

Value has value unless it's not valuable to you.

...or something like that.

Thanks for bringing back the Friday belt series, Tintin.

Oyster Guy said...

I think I usually pay according to longevity. The longer I expect it to last and satisfy, the more I am usually willing to pay...Cheaper in the long run.
From Blade Runner:

Tyrell: We began to recognize in them a strange obsession. After all, they are emotionally inexperienced, with only a few years in which to store up the experiences which you and I take for granted. If we gift them with a past, we create a cushion or a pillow for their emotions, and consequently, we can control them better.

Deckard: Memories! You're talking about memories!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BP08gyEpzA

Unclelooney said...

Broham,
That actually happened to me!
Worse yet I was washing dishes in some Dutch themed pancake house.
I had to use some string to sort of cinch a couple of belt loops together. It did not work well.

Heidi said...

Upside: an animal have to die for something cheap. Sh*t, I just re-read the post. My bad. An animal died in both cases.

As for Scotch - blends are for Americans; Johnnie Walker is for the Japanese. That's what they say behind our backs, anyway. Having lived there I have sampled many and my favorites were Laphroaig (pronounced La-Froy-g) and Talisker. Talisker is has a cozy, smoky taste because of the peat in the water on the Isle of Skye. But more of a winter thing.

Summers are for G & T.

Anonymous said...

By far the best needlepoint belts are from Smathers & Branson ($165). No comparison. Very well made and come with a wooden box. They will even cut the belts down to fit for $15 extra.

Anonymous said...

So you are saying that the thin belt is of less quality? In the world of embroidery, the smallest stitches are the hardest to make and thus adding value -- so, the awesome belt is the thinner one for less money! (and it won't add the un-needed "bulk" to your waist! You got a great, awesome, wicked cool deal on the Jaws belt! Love you! Happy Friday! DMW

Mike Roberts said...

Perhaps you've never had a female personage make you something from needlepoint: it is fine personal gift. Anonymous is correct to say the size of the stitch is the operative aspect of quality and difficulty. The canvas used for stitching the wool is sized numerically from larger to smaller square holes. The design can thus be far more detailed (and takes far more time to complete) with a smaller canvas size; sometimes silk is used instead of wool. Bigger is not always better...at least in needlepoint (and I am not Dr. Ruth). The size difference is clearly visible in your photos. BTW the J. McLaughlin belts you show in your prior posts are in that smaller petit-point stitch and possibly done on the double-thread canvas rather than the larger single thread. They might be worth $195, but this one here is not with its larger and faster stitch. I would suggest that this J. McLaughlin belt is vastly overpriced, but then one never went broke by underestimating the American buying public.

I cannot comment on the whiskey because it is blended, which I do not drink. And I preferred your post on gins anyway.

tintin said...

Mike- I doubt you could find your ass with both hands. You have this amazingly wrong.

KSB said...

How about a bottle of Middleton and suspenders? Then we can talk - all this is just noise.

A said...

Cousin swears by JW Blue, but he does all his clothing shopping at Kohls...

Anonymous said...

i'd have to agree that smathers and branson belts are the way to go.. however leather thickness doesn't matter so much as the grain and weight of leathers used, i know that much from baseball mitts.

As for johnny walker, complete crap if you ask me.. controls the market not only in the aforementioned asia, but the middle east, americas and so on... and thus is able to provide an inferior product at a much higher cost due to their stranglehold in marketing and advertising capabilities.

For me personally i prefer Lagavulin for my scotch, but indulge in single barrel bourbons as my daily er.. drink of choice, blanton's, knob creek, woodford, and pappy 20 yr being my favorites.. and purely American.

Jeff P. said...

Pro - give it to me now while I can still use a size 38 belt. I don't see why everyone doesn't wear this belt - if you squint and turn the monitor at an angle just right... you can see her boobies!

Anonymous said...

Hey tintin

The black bottle scotch is smooth and the the price is unbeatable. Sure takes the starch out of those khakis when the JW snobs pontificate thx for the lead and my associate is a Londoner and next trip across the pond will be returning withe monkey(not on his shoulder though). Your express lane to quality and thrift is second to none..whether its booze or belts.

Best Fred

Jay said...

Tintin, yes, maybe some of them are the same people who'll buy JW Blue, and there's no excuse for those people, JW Blue is/should be the province of jackasses overpaying for whiskey in NYC nightclubs.

But there's a generation of us who grew up without being introduced to accoutrements such as needlepoint belts by well-informed family or friends, and had to discover them for ourselves. If J Mac doesn't even make needlepoint belts anymore, then how are people supposed to rank the relative quality of Tucker Blair? Maybe the supposition is that these are always going to be fairly flimsy belts because that's what needlepoint belts have always been.

I mean, other than your blog, are there other places to learn about what a quality needlepoint belt should be? I think it's unfair to condescend to people who are sincerely looking to learn and don't have the background/guidance to do so. I know I have worn some serious fashion abortions in my time, and I have emerged from it the wiser for the experience. Maybe giving me the belt would make me wiser...

Main Line Sportsman said...

Not so sure primate parts serve as a proper moniker for malt whisky.

Oyster Guy said...

Sure is getting intense in here, glad this isn't a shoe blog! It all seems to boil down to the surface versus the substance of things. Bro, your post made me laugh but also made me think the Industrial Revolution would have been impossible without belts or suspenders, many wars too.

Giuseppe said...

Lombard Gold Label Old Blend Scotch Whisky....$14.99. Better than Red Label, or Dewar's, or any other commercial brand. Johnnie Black will do just fine, and you can have it in any bar. Johnnie Blue is for chumps.

As for the belt, what are you gonna do? They're both overpriced. Until I find one next Summer for $2.99 in a thrift shop....

Kozmo said...

As China's middle class starts down the road of reckless consumerism and tries to impress the rest of the world by buying name brand shit that they don't need, (read:awesome $200 belts to keep their pants up when a decade ago a piece of fucking rope would suffice)I offer this. When you got cash, baby, you have the luxury of making bad choices. You can drink your way through bottle after bottle of Monkey Piss until you find what you actually like. Buy all the overpriced clothing of poor quality that you can stuff in the Jack Spade bag with the broken zipper. If your strapped? You try to post somthing that passes for wit on a blog, 'cause you can't afford a nice belt,and want one.

Trailer Trad said...

Brohammas,

Your comment was spot on and very funny. I think you're finding your sea legs.

T said...

um...all the better to strangle hookers with?

Sorry, drawing a blank, here.

T said...

um...all the better to strangle hookers with?

Sorry, drawing a blank, here.

JKG said...

Some people want what everybody else wants because everybody else wants it and that's it -- things are desirable because they are desired. When asked what's in his blended scotch, such a man is likely to say, "Ice." He is happy.

Anonymous said...

I like monkeys.

-DB

Cannonball said...

Where quality is the thing sought after, the thing of supreme quality is cheap, whatever the price one has to pay for it.
William James

andy said...

Never trust a monkey.

andrea said...

I don't understand why you disagree with Mike and the other commenter who point out that a smaller stitch is a finer stitch. They are right.

Scale Worm said...

People will always always Always piss away money in the hopes it will make someone else think they are somebody.
Since 2008 (Hell, before that even) I've realized that money pissers (many) don't have two cents (especially now) to piss away anymore, and to them I say good fuckin' riddance. I hate/hated being with/around/by money pissers.
Teachers (like me) find a way to make (way) more with less. I've Never spent $200 for a bottle of booze, and damned straight ain't plannin' ever plan to.
Maybe with my own state now getting their ass-kicked into commercial liquor sales (WA) I'll find some monkey hoo-hah scotch to swill with my stogies alongside my "free" hand-dug outdoor fire pit burnin' bright with chop saw cut and hatchet split left-overs from my kitchen gutting rebuild project. Saved to be burnt baby.
I got plenty of belts.
Nice write up TinTin

Michael Rowe said...

Just when you thought it was safe to go back and check your waist size...

tintin said...

You know -- Most give away posts generate in excess of 200-300 comments. What are ya gonna do? I could keep this contest open but it'll just shame me. Last guy wins. And he's funny. Cheers, Michael Rowe. You the winner.

tintin said...

Michael Rowe- Please email your mailing address to:

the.trad@yahoo.com

and I'll get your belt out to you, rickey tick.

Michael Rowe said...

Done and done. The alternative comment would have been, "I think we're gonna need a bigger belt." Jaws comments write themselves, really.