sheep dip scotch whiskyOne of the primary reasons we attend events like the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Tales of the Cocktail is to sample spirits we might not otherwise find on our local liquor shelves. And our latest trip to New York acquainted us with a couple of interesting Scotland blends called Sheep Dip and Pig’s Nose. Funny names aside, we rather liked these two and were more than happy to spend an evening sampling each after they recently crossed our desks. Up first: Sheep Dip.

Sheep Dip is a blended malt whisky that’s comprised of 16 different single malts, each aged between eight and 12 years. The blend is created by Master Blender Richard Paterson, best known for his work with The Dalmore and Whyte & Mackay.

Sheep Dip pours a golden copper in the glass. Bring it up to your nose, and you’ll find soft aromas of fruit — primarily pear and citrus — plus a hint of almonds. Take a sip and things become less defined. There’s a ton of malt and virtually no peat. It’s rich, warming and very lively on the palate, with some more fruit coming through. Add to that some wood notes, mild ginger and pepper, and you’ve got a pretty interesting dram. The alcohol is moderate, and it’s not harsh, but there’s a raw character that makes it seem a bit younger than it is.

Overall, Sheep Dip is pretty solid. It won’t blow you away, but Paterson squeezes a lot of flavor out of those 16 single malts. We think a touch of smoke would’ve tied the room together nicely, but we still find this one to be a fine recreational sipper. Plus, the price is right.

Oh, and about that name… the term “sheep dip” refers to an insecticide that was used to delouse sheep before they were sheered. Long ago, it was a common occurrence for farmers to distill their own whiskey and store it in barrels labeled sheep dip, so as to thwart the tax collectors. You’ve got to appreciate their enterprising spirit, but as many of the largest buyers of sheep dip didn’t actually own sheep, the ruse didn’t last for long.

– 40% Alcohol by Volume
– $35

CE Rating: ★★★

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