Photo by Lakeworther via Wikimedia Creative Commons License


Scapa distillery Is located on the largest of the Orkney Isles just south of Kirkwall at the head of Scapa Flow.

It was founded in 1885 by John T. Townsend and a Mr. MacFarlane who had a private company. This company was taken over in 1919 but this went bankrupt and into liquidation in 1934, which also caused production to cease.

Maurice & John Bloch too the distillery over in 1936 and recommenced production.


The Bloch brothers sold Scapa to Hiram Walker & Sons in 1954 who began a process of refurbishment which included replacing one of the pot stills with a Lomond still. This was finally amended in the early 1980's when the rectifier plateswere removed, enabling it to function more or less like a pot still.

Scapa was mothballed in 1994 but between 1997-2004 the distillery was used on an ad-hoc basis by the nearby Highland Park distillery for small production runs.

2004 Saw major renovation at Scapa distillery and it acquired new owners in 2005 when Pernod Ricard bought it in the name of thier Chivas Brothers company who remain the owners today.

Some more great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness




Original Distilley Bottlings (OB)

General whisky characteristics: Light, complex, floral with vanilla and chocolate


Scapa, 12y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Gold

Nose: Malt and a touch of sea air and vanilla.

Palate: Initially soft ice cream, but very quickly opening to a lively, spicy, full-bodied basket of fruit (apples, pears, berries)

With 3 drops of water: Both nose and palate are just weakened.

Overall Impression: A very pleasant dram, especially with the fruity palate.



Scapa, 14y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Golden honey

Nose: Very fresh. Sea air and rugged cliffs lined with a little vanilla and topped with some peach.

Palate: Smooth and fruity, it's like a summer fruit cocktail served with vanilla ice cream.

With 3 drops of water: A touch of faint leather on the nose, but the palate is weakened, although the finish is longer.

Finish: Long, even longer with water and also a hint of wood & leather appear with the water.

Overall Impression: A pleasant everyday dram which I would be happy to keep in my cupboard and share with friends.



Scapa, 16y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold with a hint of bronze

Nose: Hay, lots of it alongside more hay. After some minutes a leafy toffee-ness (is that a word?) develops.

Palate: Floral butterscotch with almost lavendar qualities alongside vanilla and a faint woodiness.

Finish: Medium to long with a light floral woodiness.

Overall Impression: Somehow a little bit of a disappointment.




  Independent Bottlers (IB)    

G&M, Scapa, distilled 1993, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;


Nose: Crisp, clean, vanilla.

Palate: Initial fruit, rapidly turning into delicate and creamy white chocolate with a hint of apple.

With 3 drops of water: An amazing transformation as the drops of water turn this into pure vanilla on the palate.

Overall Impression: This is a very good Scapa, much better than the normal OB version. It is also an excellent accompaniment to a chocolate-based dessert.



G&M, Scapa, 8y, 40% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Shining yellow gold

Nose: Very fruity, intensely so with suggestions of pineapple and baked apple.

Palate: Definitely baked apple, perhaps apple crumble.

Finish: Long and fruity.

Overall Impression: Simple but lovely, an excellent everyday dram.







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