The Scapa distillery is one of the most northern distilleries in Scotland, located in the Orkney islands. Is is also one of the smallest, with only three staff on site (the manager operates out of Speyside, and the distillery itself is part of the Chivas Brothers branch of Pernod Ricard). Sadly, the small staffing means the distillery is closed to the public. The distillery used to be larger and produce several different offerings; currently, all production goes into making this 16 year old that was launched in 2009. What kind of spirit is produced in a land where it is almost always ever-day or ever-night?
Age: 16 years
Maturation: First fill American oak
Nose: Floral, elder flower, honey, vanilla, tangerine, heather/lavender, brine
Palate: Sweet, pear, vanilla and lavender, orange blossom honey, toasted hazelnuts, brine, sour cherry candy
Finish: Spice, clove, black pepper, peat
Comments: No water needed. Doesn’t seem to linger on the palate.
Adam – A very shallow profile, I thought it tasted like piss at first but thankfully this fauna element disappears after the first sip or two. It’s a pretty hot drink but oddly not unpleasantly so. Really nice aftereffect, leaving a heat in the chest long after you finish it, yet doesn’t have the kind of peaty echo I’m used to from an Islay or heftier Highland malt. It’s briny, with no smoke or peat. I enjoy how complex it is and feels it balances most of the flavors pretty nicely. I wonder what this offering might taste like with some cask finishing, but then again it could ruin the interplay of flora and fauna this thing has going on. Definitely has that taste of a place far away on the edge of the world.
Kate – Spiciness hits the soft palate. This scotch is heavy on the toasted nuts and maybe it is more of a seasonal flavour. The finish is medium and warm.
Meghan – Palate doesn’t live up to the nose. I wish it were brinier. Reminds me of being on sun-soaked sand.
Jenny – Like spring in a glass, or your first fling. Definitely smells like springtime.