Tag Archives: Ian MacLeod Distillers

MacLeod’s, Isle Of Skye, 8 Year Old Blended Scotch, 40%

Another miniature from my mixed bag winning auction lot.

I couldn’t resist humming the opening line from the famous Andy Stewart hit song ‘Donald Where’s Yer Troosers?’

‘I’ve just come down from the Isle Of Skye’.

Well some of the whisky in this blend did.

It started off fine – the colour was reassuringly pale.

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An Ian MacLeod brand. c/othewhiskeynut

But the nose was sweet – very sweet – with a dull stale smell.  This one was obviously on the turn!

I took a swig.

Pale, watery & dull.

The only sign of life was a residue smokiness from the peat.

Not undrinkable – but not pleasant.

Pity.

This one had the potential to be a clean fresh easy peater.

I did check the screw cap seal. It was slightly discoloured. A sign – so I’ve been told – the whisky has deteriorated. Seems to hold true in this instance.

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Screw cap discolouration. c/othewhiskeynut

Obviously ‘just come down from the Isle Of Skye’ too long ago!

Sláinte

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Sheep Dip, 8 Year Old Pure Malt, 40%

Driving back down from the ferry terminal at Larne after my latest trip to Scotland, a meal break was in order.

Using the old Portadown, Monaghan, Cavan N55 route found us entering the Greville Arms Hotel in Granard for an early evening feed.

I was hoping they might have an old Michael Collins whiskey to sample given the Kitty Kiernan link. No such luck on that front.

They did have a bottle of the original 8 Year Old Pure Malt Sheep Dip blended malt however!

This is a soft, sweet, smooth & gently malty approachable blended malt that has proved popular over the years. It’s had as many owners as changes in labels during that time. This is an early incarnation with the MJ Dowdeswell & Co label before Spencerfield Spirit took it over then latterly Ian Macleod Distillers.

A lovely accompaniment to my fish and chips.

Sláinte.

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Smokehead, Islay Single Malt, 43%

I always try to pick up some new whiskey – for me at least – when I’m out & about. I popped into the local Oddbins whilst in London recently & came out with this Smokehead miniature – well – it’s air travel friendly.

Contrary to a lot of what has been said regarding transparency in the Irish whiskey world – this bottle of Islay Single Malt doesn’t say which distillery made it. It does say who bottled it – Ian Macleod Distillers – who do own distilleries – but not on Islay.

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Smokin’ c/othewhiskeynut

Islay is renowned the world over for it’s peaty whisky and Smokehead is a brand which exudes that quality. It’s also proudly a mystery malt – along with others like Finlaggan & Aldi’s Glen Marnoch – in that the actual distillery isn’t disclosed – leading to much speculation & guessing – which is part of the fun.

I also crave a bit of peat influence in my whiskey. It adds a bit of punch & vitality to the glass. Much like these French rockers who also go by the name Smokehead.

The nose has that lovely rich peaty smoke which enwraps me with it’s charms. A hint of caramel jars with me however and I immediately get suspicious of added e150. This was later confirmed by an internet search here.

There’s quite a nice oily mouthfeel on the taste. It reminds me of a dark heavy Bunnahabhain – although most pundits reckon the malt is Ardbeg – with a lovely spiciness too.

The smoke lingers on the finish & just makes me want to dive in for more.

Overall it’s a decent smoky peat dram. The caramel gives it a dark & heavy feel rather than the crisp & clear taste of Peat Monster by Compass Box. It’s also way more balanced than Glen Marnoch where the smoke only  just rises above the morass of caramel in the mix.

Sláinte.

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Sheep Dip, Blended Malt, 40%

Sheep Dip.

A liquid formulation of insecticide & fungicide used to protect sheep from parasitic infestation.

Not something you’d want to drink then.

Unless it’s a whisky.

And you’re attracted by the bold name & proud ram emblazoned on the label.

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Sheep Dip c/othewhiskeynut

Like I was.

Sheep Dip is produced for The Spencerfild Spirits Company.

It has a very satisfying rich malty feel denoting a blended malt composition – no grain content here.

Pig’s Nose is it’s stablemate.

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Pig’s Nose c/othewhiskeynut

The malty notes are tamed down on tasting by the sweet grain used in this pleasant blend.

Ian MacLeod Distillers have recently acquired The Spencerfield Spirit Company and – like all new ventures – there is a revamp.

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The new labels c/othespiritsbusiness

Sheep Dip & Pig’s Nose have shiny new labels.

As the World Whiskies Awards have a category for label design – I feel it worthy to comment – regardless if the content remains the same – which I believe it is.

The proud ram of Sheep Dip – the very emblem that sparked my initial attraction – is now more muted.

Meanwhile the pig for Pig’s Nose has taken on a rather snooty posture – very reminiscent of George Orwell’s Animal Farm character Napoleon.

There’s a current world leader that also has Napoleonic tendencies.

Doublespeak, fake news & vanity.

I’d recommend a re-read of Animal Farm – along with a bottle of Sheep Dip.

The combination of an enjoyable whisky together with a very prescient book is just what the doctor ordered.

Slàinte.

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