When asked about whisky from the Orkney islands, most drammers will say “Highland Park” quick like a shot. There is, however, another production unit on the multipartite archipelago off the north coast of Scotland: Scapa, which was originally founded in 1885. Throughout the decades, it changed ownership several times and was even mothballed for a couple of years in the 1990s and 2000s. Today, Scapa belongs to Pernod Ricard and produces about 1,000,000 litres of Scotch per year (if Wikipedia is to be believed on this). Whereas their core range whiskies Skiren and Glansa are good to find in well-sorted specialist shops, independendly bottled Scapas are seldomly seen. When such a bottling surfaces on the market, it is usually from a company with a long history, good network and rich inventory. Needless to say, Elgin-based malt merchants Gordon & MacPhail fall into this category. Their newest Scapa release is a 14-year-old single malt that was entirely matured in 1st fill ex-bourbon barrels (all of which got filled in 2005). To me, this super-smooth pour is a great reflection of the distillery’s house style: citrusy and milky with a lot of fruitiness and freshness. Oh, yes… I certainly dig this dram a lot!
Eye: Pallid sunshine.
Nose: A mellow, well-balanced bouquet with citrus sorbet, lime juice, camomile tea and slightly burnt custard. The mix is completed by soft pears, honey melon and moist stones.
Palate: Green apples, grapes and pears bathed in chocolate milk. Another prominent flavor is that of banana split ice cream with grated ginger on top. In regard to its character, this 14-year-old Scapa is mostly sweetish and savory, but also light and fresh.
Finish: Medium-long and softening with cocoa powder, camomile tea, vanilla pudding and citrus zest. Towards the end, the whisky gets noticeably more chocolate-y and floral.
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islands)
Age: 14 Years (2005/2019)
Alc. volume: 43%
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Cask type: 1st fill ex-bourbon
Price range: ~75.00 Euro
More info: https://www.gordonandmacphail.com/ (Bottler) ; http://scapawhisky.com/ (Distillery)