Sheep Dip is a relatively well-known blended whisky, but few realize that there are multiple Sheep Dips (Sheeps Dip?) to choose from. The “original” Sheep Dip is easily the best known and most widely available, but producer Spencerfield Spirit Co. has also produced vintage bottlings from time to time.
The latest expression is a (nonvintage) Islay Blended Malt — all peated single malts from Islay, with no grain whisky added. No other production information is available. It’s easy to tell apart from the other Dips: Look for the green label vs. the original’s white.
This is a much different whisky than the original Sheep Dip or, really, almost any other blended whisky. The nose is pure Islay, sweet smoke layered with salt spray and iodine. It’s not overpowering, but it isn’t shy about its agenda. The body follows suit, but downplays its hand. Here we find the lighter side of Islay, a more gently smoky body that comes across as almost watery at times. The familiar smoke-and-seaweed notes are still there, but dialed way back. Big Islay fans will probably find it quite a bit too gentle, almost to the point where it seems unsure of itself. The finish takes a slightly strange spin with a kind of gravelly and rubbery character, one which doesn’t exactly take things out on a high note.
B / $35 / spencerfieldspirit.com