Monday, February 6, 2012

Sheep Dip Whiskey

Sheep Dip is a blended malt, introduced in 1974 by Gloucestershire gentleman farmer MJ Dowdeswell, who also owned a pub in Oldbury-on-Severn.  Sheep Dip takes its name from the English farming term for an insecticide once used on British sheep farms. There was a time when the farmers would distill their own whiskies and store them in barrels marked "SD" to avoid expensive distilling taxes, thus the term "Sheep Dip" became slang for whiskey in the region.

"Eccentrically named, yet of an unsurpassed quality, Sheep Dip was once (back in the 80's) the best selling whisky in Harrods. A whisky whose distinctively full-bodied flavour is only reached through weaving together sixteen different single malt whiskies, aged between eight and twenty years, in specially selected first-fill oak casks.

Jim Murray describes the award-winning Sheep Dip in his 2006 Whisky Bible as "Young and sprightly like a new-born lamb a fresh, mouthwatering grassy style with a touch of spice. Maligned by some, but to me a clever accomplished vatting of alluring complexity."


TEC said...

I recall as a young boy, my grandfather taking me to a shearing operation, and making sure that I had the opportunity to tromp wool into tall (they seemed huge at the time) wool sacks. You literally got into the sack, and pushed with your feet, using your weight to compress the fleeces. Then, I watched as the sheared sheep were run through a trench dug in the ground, while the herders poured five gallon buckets of pungent smelling sheep dip over the sheep which were almost swimming through the trench. This dipping operation was done to protect the sheep from various annoying bugs that they can harbor in their wool coats. I learned recently that currently in Britain use of sheep dip is heavily regulated. I don't know if it is still used in the US. -- TEC

TEC said...

I recently found a 1938 video of shepherds dipping sheep in the mountains of Wales. Here is the link:

TEC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TEC said...

Correction to above deleted comment.

Located a photo of "tromping wool", the age old way of compressing fleeces into for shipment. See Feb 8, 2012 comment above. The guy on the tower is using his feet to compact the wool in the sack below him. The kids on the truck cab are likely taking a break. I'm believe the lever under raises its floor when the sack is partially full, so wool tromper doesn't get lost in sack. URL to cut and paste in browser window: