Thank you to /u/Johnysteaks for a sample of this dram.
So. Sheep Dip. Sounds like either something Gary Larson drew and then moved onto Cows or something that won’t taste good.
Actually, in the past my family has been told it’s called that to tell you where the water flowed through before being used in the whisky. So again, gross.
But actually Sheep Dip is just a liquid formulation of insecticide and fungicide which shepherds and farmers use to protect sheep from infestation.
In this case though I’m not reviewing a poison, and instead it’s a vatted malt (blend with no grain element). However you’ll notice I haven’t been bolding it, and wondering if I’ve given up on that.
Well I haven’t, so shame on you for doubting me.
Actually I’m reviewing Sheep Dip 1990 Old Hebridean, which adds more layers of confusion to all of this. What does “Old Hebridean” mean? And what’s this whisky?
The Hebrides seem to be a widespread and diverse archipelago off the West coast of Scotland. So an Old Hebridean would be someone who lives there.
Fucked up yet? Let’s get back to the whisky.
So it’s made by Spencerfield Spirits Co. And they make Sheep Dip and Pig’s Nose and The Feathery.
So they made this dram. Sheep Dip 1990 Old Hebridean is a blend of 19 year Dalmore, 21 year Fettercairn, and 25 year Ardbeg. Also it’s blended and then aged 15 years together. So I’m assuming that they take 4 year Dalmore, 6 year Fettercairn, and 10 year Ardbeg and then let it melow.
So what’s with the name then? Well the Hebrides include Islay, and this has Islay in it. Honestly, that’s the only connection I can find, as Dalmore and Fettercairn aren’t even close to the Hebrides. Unless I’m missing something.
Alright. So… that’s about it for the name. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 10R 4/10
Nose: Chocolate, smoke, red grape, mint, cherry, umami, crabapple, salty, orange
Wow. So here’s I’m sitting, being all down because this dram is super high quality and yet 40%, and then… it actually has a nose on it!
It’s a Xmas Miracle!
Or not. It’s probably just a good group of people working on it and watering it down too much to make more money.
So yeah. It’s like a smokey, really nice sherry smelling, and some salt elements as well. I didn’t actually know that this contained Ardbeg when I started nosing it, yet this is a well aged dram.
Taste: Anise, butter, smoked pork chops, pepper, caramel, sweet grass
Smoke a pork chop once in your life. Or have someone do it. Or buy one. Or don’t, I’m not your dad.
Drink this and it tastes just like that. The Fettercairn and Ardbeg are more strong here, though the buttery/caramel from Dalmore is present and meshes well.
Very tasty is what I’m saying. A little bit of a weak mouthfeel, but that doesn’t detract from it too much.
Finish: Smoke, grape, salt, cocoa, arugula, orange rind, cream
So the finish is a let down. Not like “tastes like ass” or “wow, that’s kinda a strong raw cumin flavour” or even “Guy Fieri has keys to your house” bad, more like “that didn’t hold up and was really watery bad”.
So.. Yeah, it didn’t hold up and was watery. And weak. Which was too bad, really. I was hoping for more. Sure, you can pick out the flavours I wrote, yet it’s just.. missing something.
Conclusion: I read somewhere that another reviewer wished this was at 46%, as it had some weak spots.
And I agree. Unlike them I won’t be giving it a 92.
Instead I’ll be saying this: It’s an amazing, ballsy, and really tasty dram. I’d hazard to say getting a bottle is a pain in the ass. And I’d also say I understand why.
I really, really wish they had left it at 46%, or even, dare I say it, cask strength. They didn’t though, and that’s sad. And maybe I wouldn’t have tried it if they did, so I’m torn there too.
End of the day, I think they should have done more with it, yet I’m still happy to try it. Maybe next time.
Scotch review #406, Blend review #45, Whisky Network Review #627