Island of Orkney Scapa Scotland Whisky from 200 euros and over

Scapa 16yo

Origin: Orkney (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Strength: 40%ABV
Ageing casks: Ex bourbon
Added colouring: 
Owner: Pernod Ricard
Average price: € 200.00
Official website: www.scapawhisky.com
Vote: 80/100

Here is “the other” distillery of the Orkney Islands, the one that you don’t see much around but which since 1885 has been producing its whisky proudly unpeated, doing everything possible to ensure that there’s as little peat as possible, not only sourcing the malt off-island but also using a system of pipes to draw water so that contact with the peat is kept to a minimum.
Situated on the bay of the same name, it was founded by the blenders Macfarlane & Townsend and was threatened with extinction by a fire in 1919, which was avoided thanks to several sailors who put it out… with buckets of sea water!
A couple of subsequent restyles until 1994, when Scapa was closed, returning to operation only on and off from 1997 thanks to the staff of Highland Park, arriving in 2004 with the decision of the then owners (Allied Distillers) to refurbish it and bring it back up to speed in 2005, a year that also coincided with the changeover to the current owners.
Two stills, including one of the few Lomond-style stills in the whole of Scotland, for a rather limited production (much of which ends up in blends) and which today sees essentially only two bottlings, both with no age declaration, namely Skiren and Glansa, the latter born in 2016 and released so far in 7 batches, the last of which in early 2022.

This 16-year-old was launched at the end of 2009 and was short-lived, being abandoned just seven years later.

Tasting notes

The nose is quite pungent despite the low alcohol content, expressing fresh notes of pineapple, green apple, banana and heather, with brushstrokes of honey, vanilla and cinnamon, framed by a tantalising coastal breeze that carries with it a vague impression of smoke, like a distant bonfire of grass. And indeed the vegetal part is just as present, with tobacco and green tea, soaked in cedar water. It becomes sweeter and softer over time. Pleasant when not very layered.
On the palate, it reaffirms the lively and peppery spirit, although this is only an initial push that soon dissolves in the rather light consistency of the dram, in which the saline part is the dominant one accompanying (toasted) nuts, more tropical fruit with citrus hints and marked vegetal notes. Always a hint of smoke in the background.
The finish is short and not very incisive, in which nuts, vegetal notes and smoke remain.

Attempts to erase the peat have clearly failed, but the result is nevertheless a pleasant and elegant note, perhaps the only noteworthy in an otherwise pleasant but far too fleeting whisky, which leaves very little behind and to which a stronger strength would certainly lend much more depth.

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