The regular Sheep Dip is a vatted malt, a marriage of 16 malt whiskies brought together by Richard Paterson. The name refers to a time when farmers hid their homemade whisky in casks that said “Sheep Dip” (a kind of fungicide for sheep) to avoid having to pay taxes to the revenue man.
This Sheep Dip 1999 Amoroso is a funny experiment. The whisky inside had been matured in Scotland for 3 years in ex-bourbon hogsheads, and was then shipped to Jerez, Spain – the capital of the Sherry triangle. The renowned Bodegas Romate poured it into Amoroso sherry butts (a sweetened type of Oloroso). Originally it was only supposed to stay there for two years, but something went wrong, the cask was forgotten about and the whisky stayed there for an extra 9 years.
It’s not Scotch whisky anymore, as SWA rules dictate Scotch whisky needs to spend its whole maturation period in Scotland. Needless to say Andalusia’s climate is slightly different from Scotland, which makes this experiment quite interesting.
Sheep Dip 1999 (41,8%, OB 2012, Amoroso Oloroso, matured in Spain)
Nose: utterly sweet, like a freshly opened bag of strawberry marshmallows. Amarena cherries. Plenty of vanilla as well as some honey. Limoncello. A buttery hint of white chocolate. Bramble preserve. Very candied.
Mouth: very sweet again, with lots of marshmallow notes, big big vanilla and something of bubblegum. Pears in syrup. Raspberry candy. Toffee sweetness. Soaked raisins and sweet rhubarb compote. Liqueur bonbons. And pretty much everything that you can find in a candy store.
Finish: the same overwhelming sweetness, although there’s a growing spicy warmth in the background.
This is almost like a fruit liqueur or a marshmallow infusion. A children’s dram? No seriously, it’s really not too bad as a post-dinner drink, even though it’s unlike any other whisky. It’s great to convince inexperienced whisky drinkers, especially women, but you shouldn’t approach it like a traditional single malt whisky. Around € 45.