After enough evenings sitting at a bar doing tastings on my own, I got a nice reminder how social whisky can – and should – be by sharing a couple of bottles of Scotch with my coworkers. It is not unusual on a Wednesday for an ice bucket and glasses to appear in one of our conference rooms with a bowl of popcorn. And for people to wander in after their day and help themselves to a pour.
You know people enjoyed a Wednesday when you come in Thursday to your office – a little bleary-eyed – and find two almost empty bottles of Scotch, a very empty bowl of popcorn, and tasting notes from fellow drinkers who scribbled things like “I feel like I’m falling down a hole when I drink it.”
This week, we sized up two blends of single malt Scotches. One I was quite familiar with – Monkey Shoulder. Adorable bottle with three monkeys on it, representing the three distilleries from the Speyside region that make the single malt Scotches inside. I can’t technically count this toward my challenge to taste 33 new whiskies in less than 30 days because it’s already such a good friend. I will say I enjoy it, though. Very drinkable.
The other one – Sheep Dip – I had tried once, but long ago, so it counts. This was a favorite of my gun-in-his-boot grandpa who enjoyed a Scotch on the rocks regularly. The name came from trying to get the bottles past the tax man back in the day when they taxed more for the stuff that got people soused than they did for the stuff that got sheep de-loused (which I assume is what Sheep Dip was).
What I knew: 16 different single malt whiskies aged between 8 and 30 years, 80 proof
What I learned:
Not too shabby, Grandpa. I totally would have enjoyed some drinks of this with you. This whisky is sweet with a candied orange flavor and a little honey, but still a nice richness and warmth. It lingered. I found it smooth and soft. And kind, if whisky could have personality – soothing, interesting, a little wit. I can see why my grandpa got along so well with it. In addition to what the whisky did for me, I enjoyed watching what it did to my coworkers, from an adamant discussion, to giggles, to determining which whisky was like the guy you should like (Monkey Shoulder) and which was the guy you actually like (Sheep Dip).