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A fitting drink for a taxing day

On this most taxing day, remember Sheep Dip.

The odd name stems from what Scottish farmers used to write on barrels of their house-made whiskeys. It was a way to avoid paying taxes, by hiding their high-octane stuff from the authorities. Originally, sheep dip referred to an insecticide applied to the fleece before shearing.

This ingenuity gained popularity, of course. A lot of Scotch ended up designated sheep dip. The bracing beverage that bears the name these days is knitted together from 16 single malt whiskeys that go from eight to 12 years old. The blend comes from four whiskey regions.

It's a very good, coppery gold number, slightly floral, with spice, loaded with malty flavor and considerable finesse. A bottle of Sheep Dip is about $39.

While on the subject of Scotch: look for "Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch" (DK Publishing, $29.95), the sixth edition of this book. Jackson died in 2008. The revision and update by Dominic Roskrow, Gavin D. Smith and William C. Meyers is informative, wide-ranging, illustrated and entertaining - it deserves a toast.

Long Island's Wine of the Week


The 2009 Paumanok Vineyards Chenin Blanc ($28) is a springtime treat from the Aquebogue producer, the only one on Long Island to make this wine. Paumanok has fashioned a versatile, balanced, crisp white, with citrus and tropical fruit notes.

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