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. no 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 the rich oily fire. light tang, salty seaweed. Iodine medicine.  16/20

Finish (10%): Long lingering smoke with a bit of 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. slight medicinal rubber note.  6/10

Overall Impression and Harmony (30%): This is a pretty young scotch overall by my estimation, that or the peat is just so high that any oak just falls away.  The peat is there no doubt, but this falls short in terms of balance in my opinion. It goes from nothing to a little something maybe, and then a hard kick in the jaw.  18/30

Retry on Ice (25%): some pulpy fruit starts to emerge, more tang, sour orange, my palate may be adjusting to the peat at this point. The oil still lingers but the opening flavor and mid-palate really brighten up. Certainly an improvement 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 is certainly that, and it does a good job of it. This is an islay scotch through and though. 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 classic, that really excels in its category. If you want Islay, the big names certainly earned their reputation in the field of smoke. This isn't a great introduction to the extremes that are Islay Scotches, nor is it an example of the extremes the region can take. I suppose it does fit to be a middle of the road whiskey in a violent environment, but why? I'm sure a few people out there love it, but I want to see more age and more spice. Maybe I haven't compared it to enough other blended Islay scotches if they exist. 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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