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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tips from British farmers on hiding your drinking from your wife

A wonderful scotch whiskey and a great story, Sheep Dip is a blended malt scotch whiskey from Spencerfield Spirit Company in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland. I was prompted to try Sheep Dip by its listing in Ian Buxton’s 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die.

The name Sheep Dip is a tribute to a time when British farmers referred to their own “home-made” whiskey as Sheep Dip in an attempt to avoid paying taxes. Love it! Farmers would hide their whiskey in barrels marked “Sheep Dip” and farmers’ merchants would often list whiskey on bills as “Sheep Dip” to hide it from the farmers’ wives. :-)

One of these days I’ll write a post about my own family’s history with home distilling. Almost a hundred years ago, my Grandfather and his brothers and cousins ran stills in the mountains of North Carolina and Wyoming.  It is a great story with a rich history of incidents with law enforcement.  Some of my earliest memories are of my dad’s brothers visiting us and bringing moonshine from NC.

But back to Sheep Dip.

Whiskey: Sheep Dip (Spencerfield Spirit Company)
Type: Blended malt Scotch whiskey
Origin: Scotland

My Review:
This is my kind of Scotch.  It has a light floral, fruity smell with warm hints of honey and smoke.  It has no heavy peat taste that (at this time) doesn’t appeal to me. This light and warm blend of malts, honey, and spices is a perfect introduction to Scotch, in my opinion.  A much better choice than the bottom shelf Scotches that many people try for the first time then declare that they don’t care for Scotch. 

Try it neat. Sheep Dip is a 40% APV (80 Proof) and shouldn’t require much, if any, cutting. Perhaps a few drops of water to suit your taste. I have seen comments that Sheep Dip can be hard to find. Not my experience at all. I recently picked up a bottle at BevMo at a very reasonable price.

Spencerfield Spirit Company is wholly owned and run by Alex and Jane Nicol. The story of the creation of this company and how Sheep Dip got started is told in Buxton’s book and at the Spencerfield website. Check it out and fall in love with this entrepreneurial story. 

If you try Sheep Dip with a cigar, select a lighter flavor cigar. Bolder heavier flavors will easily overwhelm Sheep Dip's light subtle flavors.


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