Thursday, September 29, 2022

Review: Sheep Dip Islay Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

Color (5%):
Golden, fall hay colored.Lighter than expected. 3/5

Nose (10%): That is an oily scotch. Old band-aids through and through. Band-aids after a dip in the swimming pool real oaky, toasty notes, pretty standard peaty young islay. 7/10

Palate (20%): Surprisingly quite light to start, very watery. It swiftly builds to a high dose of polyphenols. There's a flavor I've had before that I can't place: an English sweet sherbet? Powdered sugar flavor. It starts with nothing and builds into a rich, oily fire. Light tang, salty seaweed. Iodine medicine. 16/20

Finish (10%): Long lingering smoke with some alcohol heat. Really feel it in the bottom jaw. Very dry. I'm struggling to form saliva. Cigars aren't this binding. Light figgy, golden date note starts to appear after several sips. There is a slight medicinal rubber note.  6/10

Overall Impression and Harmony (30%): This is a pretty young scotch, and the peat is so high that any oak falls away. The peat is undoubtedly the, but this falls short in balan,cn. It goes from nothing to a little something, then a hard kick in the jaw. 18/30

Retry on Ice (25%): Some pulpy fruit starts to emerge, more tangy, sour orange. My palate may be adjusting to the peat at this point. The oil still lingers, but the opening flavor and mid-palate brighten up. Certainly an improvement,t but still not anything of legendary status. 19/25

Total Ranking: 69% Legendary, AmazingGreatGood, Fair, Average, Tolerable, Swill

Estimated Fair Price (per 750ml):  $27
Actual Price: $35 (though I found a 200ml bottle for $5)

Conclusion: Honestly, this is very different from what I expected. I'm used to blended whiskies having a kiss of smoke folded in. The standard sheep dip undoubtedly does that and does an excellent job of it. This is an islay scotch through and through. There's no debate. The finish stands strong and tall. There's less toasted oak than many other islay scotches I've had. If I wanted an islay to sip or for a cocktail, I wouldn't pick this. Stick with the classics that really excel in their category. If you want Islay, the big names certainly earned their reputation in the field of smoke. This could be a better introduction to the extremes that are Islay Scotches and an example of the extremes the region can take. It does fit to be a middle-of-the-road whiskey in a violent environment, but why? I'm sure a few people love it, but I want to see more age and spice. If they exist, I need to compare it to enough other blended Islay scotch. But I know what I want in an Islay, and this isn't it. 

Fact Sheet: 
Distillery Location: Scotland
ABV: 40% (80 proof)
Age Statement:  a blend of whiskeys aged between 8 to 12 years
Ingredients: Peated single malts from Islay
Awards: Winner of the NY, Ultimate Spirit Challenge Chairman’s Recommendation 2015, #13 - Whiskey advocate top 20 whiskies of 2017

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