Paying taxes has always been painful, and history is rife with tales of artful tax dodges. One of my favorites is how eighteenth century Scots hid home-distilled whisky in barrels marked “sheep dip” to avoid paying tax on it. I grew up on a cattle ranch, where “dip” always meant a malodorous and toxic insecticide. It certainly wasn’t anything you’d want to drink. Things were much the same back then, I guess, making those barrels ideal camouflage for whisky. So, what better dram to drink on April 15 than Sheep Dip? Created by Richard Patterson of Spencerfield Spirit Co. in Inverkeithing, it marries 16 single malt whiskies from different distilleries that have been aged from 8 to 21 years. It’s a blend, yes, but a blend of the kind that used to be called a vatted malt, not the kind that also contains grain spirits. The nose is soft and floral, the taste smooth and approachable, but far from boring. Malty, with some Highland spice and a hint of citrus. There’s a bit of Islay there too, just at the end. A nice finish, and a good way to put Tax Day to rest.
(Photo courtesy of The Spencerfield Spirit Co.)