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


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