Sheep Dip: Amoroso Oloroso (Whisky, but not Scotch)

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You have to love the spirits industry. When you walk into any Scotch whisky warehouse, you see whiskies from all over the country. Cask exchange (whereby casks are exchanged with other companies for blending) means that walking into any warehouse is like walking into a whisky museum. Any warehouse in the country will contain the likes of Lagavulin, Cambus, Caledonian, North British, Royal Lochnagar and many many more casks of random whisky.

This is even more random. It’s not technically Scotch. It may have been made pretty much the same way as scotch (barley spirit), and matured here in Scotland for 3 years in ex bourbon casks, but it was then moved to Spain, to Romate’s (Sherry company) warehouses in Jerez, and poured into Oloroso Sherry casks. Mental. Now, on the bottle it says it was blended in Scotland, so I am wondering if after initial maturation, it was blended here, then transported to Spain and poured into Oloroso butts. That would be my bet. Not sure if it is a blend or a blended malt though. I would guess blended malt. To be Scotch, it has to have spent it’s full maturation here in Scotland according to the SWA.

Now I don’t know the ins and outs of why it was transported to Spain, but by all accounts, the casks were just discovered in the warehouse one day, and Romate got in touch with the folks at Sheep Dip to see if they were interested in bottling it.

From the point of view of whisky geekery, this kind of cask movement will have some interesting effects on the whisky. Changing cask, from Ex Bourbon to Ex Sherry will have a massive effect and the change in location will cause many changes in the whisky. Warehouses in Jerez are a damn sight hotter and more humid than warehouses in Scotland. This will increase the whiskies interaction with the Oak. This is especially relevant, since it has spent the majority of it’s life in Spain.

Enough build up, let’s taste it:

Sheep Dip Amoroso Oloroso
Distilled 1999-Bottled 2012
Ex Bourbon Hogshead 3 years (Scotland)
Ex Oloroso Butt 9 years (Spain)
41.8% Abv
Buy it online here or come in and visit me at Drinkmonger

Nose: Vanilla, caramel, butter, popcorn (like really sweet popcorn), caramelised sugar, icing sugar, almonds, cherries and tangerines. Wow, this is a sweetie! The Oloroso powers through. It’s sweeter than most sherry casked whisky.

Palate: Still got that vanilla cream coming through. Apples, marzipan and tangerines. I like it.

Finish: Slight peppery note comes in after the huge amounts of sweetness

Overall: It’s so sweet. Amoroso is actually the process of adding sugar, so I wonder if the Oloroso that seasoned this cask had added sugar , it is so sweet. Lovely though. Definitely an after dinner drink to go with your coffee.

It’s nice to try something so unusual. You hear rumours of random casks in warehouses and it is nice to taste one that has made it to market. If anyone has suggestions as to why a sherry bodega would have a few casks of whisky, comment below. It’s a puzzler.

Chris Hoban

 

Comments

  1. Sounds interesting. I agree that to get those sweetness levels it must have been a sweetened olorosso, maybe some PX in there somewhere?

    I’m guessing the heat down there in the south of Spain has given it a lot more maturity than you’d expect in Scotland over the same period of time, so the 9 years is liable to come across as much more than that. It might go some way to explaining why the bodega was involved?

  2. Chris,

    I tried the 1990 which has a big peat influence, and that was lovely…

  3. Great article, and I agree entirely with the tasting notes, but one or two points:
    1. Sherry bodegas are less humid than Scotch warehouses; they have to spray water about to get any humidity. They are certainly much hotter, and this might have had a slight caramelisation effect on the spirit? Certainly it would age faster.
    2. No Sherry has added sugar. In fact all Sherry is dry – except one – PX. (Apart from Pale Cream) all other Sherries are sweetened with the addition of more or less PX. An Amoroso is an Oloroso sweetened with PX, but not quite as much as a Cream.
    3. One or two Bodegas have dabbled in Whisky, for example Grupo Estevez sell a brand bottled in Spain called “John Cor”. God knows where it comes from though! Maybe Sanchez Romate were thinking along similar lines. Another possiblility is that a Spanish whisky producer sent them the whisky to be “Sherried” and didn’t like the result or changed hands. I’m thinking DYC and Beam Global….
    Keep up the good work guys!

  4. Had the opportunity to try this on Friday night at the Ben Nevis – what a fantastic little dram, I loved it- images of pink candy floss and Christmas candy canes danced through my mind. Once it had been poured for a while it tasted like Chocolate fudge sauce – amazing!!! x

  5. Sanchez Romate distribute Sheep Dip and Pigs Nose in Spain, and we were down there presenting our brands to their customers in Jerez giving them tastings etc. The whisky they had in Oloroso Sherry butts had been placed there by a whisky broker who asked for a six additional months maturation. The broker promptly went bust, and the lovely folks at Sanchez Romate forgot to take it out of the cask. Nine years later we turn up and get to try it and made them an offer they didnt understand and we bought it. Only 900 six packs but soo different could not wait to get it back to Edinburgh and bottled, so glad you liked it too !

  6. Hey Alex, thanks for commenting! It’s always interesting to hear how these things happened.

    I really did enjoy it. Sweet and complex. The oloroso really did power through.

    Look forward to tasting what you folks make next.

    Cheers,

    Chris Hoban

  7. Da stili classici ma sobria che si basano su colori neutri e disegni di veramente stili occhio popping e innovativi che caratterizzano gli ultimi look per pezzi di tempo, si è sicuri di trovare proprio quello che serve per tutte le vostre occasioni importanti.

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