Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sheep Dip Blended Malt Scotch Whisky:

"The light music of whiskey falling into a glass - an agreeable interlude." - James Joyce

For my birthday last year my wife gave me the Spencerfield Spirit Company’s Pig's Nose. A blend of young grain and single malt scotches. And for this Christmas I happily received Spencerfield’s step up brand, Sheep Dip. Crafted by Richard Paterson, Scotland’s only third generation master blender, this particular blend is of single malts only. Sourced from all four major regions of Scotland, the blend uses 16 single malts – all between the age of 8 and 12 years.

The name, just like Pig’s Nose, is less serious than more aged brands out there. Yet, in no way is it inferior. Sheep Dip gets its name from a solution, invented by George Wilson in 1830, which farmers could “dip” there sheep in before shearing them. This arsenic powdered concoction would in turn get rid of lice, ticks and other pesky invertebrates. Though we can’t, or wouldn't want to, stop there because no one would want to purchase a blend which received its name from an arsenic solution.  As stated on the bottle, the specific title comes from a time when farmers would hide their home-distilled products from the infamous excise officers in barrels labeled sheep dip. A title thus telling us that this is stuff you want to hide and savor for yourself. Though Sheep Dip is still a fairly unknown product, it has been gaining quite a lot of attention lately, and now can generally be found in many of your local liquor stores.

Sheep Dip Blended Malt Scotch Whisky:
Price: Around $35.00 for a 750ml bottle. I find the prices on this one tend to fluctuate more than some.

Packaging/Labeling: Standard bottle with a clean modern finish. I wouldn’t say the cover alludes to what is on the inside. However, it assumes a more refined character when presented with the box.

Alcoholic Content: 80 Proof, 40% ABV.

Color: Medium to medium well.

Nose: The nose on this one is a pleasant surprise. A clean, creamy freshness and assertive front without being overbearing. Milk chocolate with currants. A pleasant and light maltiness. Fig and bread pudding. As Ralfy says, "there is a nose on this that many single malts would be pleased to have."

Tasting: The front is just as assertive as the finish. As with the nose, it is never over baring. You have some of the traditional smoke and peat notes along with lemon creams and floral notes, sided by honeysuckle. And there is a wonderful earthiness – reminds me when I walk outside after a rain. The finish is very nice and long lingering. There is a part of this blend which brings Bushmills Black Bush to mind (only a small part).

Conclusion: In all actuality Sheep Dip isn't much of a step-up brand to Pig's Nose. It stands on quite a different level. And this is actually one of the better blends I’ve had within the price point. Very enjoyable and unique in its own right. It will satisfy any malt head who needs a break or just want to sip this while they watch a movie. This is what a blend should be. It also makes a fun and unique gift from the general Johnnie Walker.


  1. Hi there

    hey thanks for the details of Sheep Dip Blended Malt Scotch Whisky. What is important for me is price, taste and color.


    1. Happy I could help Gerald! Is Liquors Galore your store? I am going to be in New York late this summer - I might want to stop by and check out your shop.