Following on the heels of the delightful Sheep Dip 1990 Old Hebridean I so loved, I’m somewhat at a loss as to how to explain this one away.
That aforementioned 1990 was of such a surprisingly high caliber that I’ve spent the last couple of years singing its praises from the rooftops. It didn’t hurt that the malt was built on a bedrock of old Ardbeg either. Just sayin’. All I can say now, however, is that I sincerely hope that anyone out there who may have heard my earlier recommendation did not confuse that bottle with this and make a purchase in error. I’d honestly almost feel guilty.
The story behind this Amaroso Oloroso 1999 is a unique one involving the rediscovery of a handful of casks of Scotch whisky (most probably a blended malt like the other expression of Sheep Dip, I’d guess) which had been laid down and forgotten in a Spanish Bodega. The whisky itself was blended in Scotland and spent the first quarter of its life prior to being shipped off to Jerez and settling down in the darkened recesses of a warehouse, where it lay apparently undisturbed until 2012.
The cynic in me questions just how exactly casks can be forgotten in this manner. Knowing how rigid bonding and excise is, and knowing that warehouses are prowled quite regularly…hmmmm…I don’t buy it, guys. This tale immediately made me think of the great Serendipity story (an ‘accidental’ blending of Ardbeg and Glen Moray, you may recall).
Anyway…as for the whisky itself…
The best analogy I can draw, in light of its overly sweet persona and rather artificial facade, is that this is like craving a big bowl full of fresh juicy black cherries and being handed a jar of fluorescent maraschinos instead. This is, quite simply, an oversweet contrived malt lacking in any sort of focus. I’m not saying it’s awful, I’m merely stating that it’s really not what I look for in a whisky, nor is it something I would ever recommend as a reflection of any of the styles we so love.
A quick final note: This is not a Scotch whisky, nor is it labeled as such. SWA regulations state that in order to be designated as ‘Scotch’ a whisky must be matured entirely in Scotland.
Nose: Sweet waxy synthetic notes. Sweet fudge. Maybe just the faintest touch of peat (though I’m honestly not sure on that one). Marshmallow. Farmy and iodine notes (but fruit and sweetened). Bourbon notes. Fake cherry candy. Marzipan. Caramel/toffee. White nougat and white chocolate. Vanilla cream and custard. Deep spice notes, particularly cinnamon.
Palate: Bourbon. Spicy pastry. Chocolate and more spice (maybe ginger and cinnamon…possibly a bit of pepper). Horse blanket. Huge vanilla fade. Hugely sweet. Overly so, in fact,
Thoughts: Book a trip to the dentist. You’ll need it after this one.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt