"The nose was a roller coaster with its highlights and off-notes, the palate was much more focussed and close to the origins without much cask influence"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Scapa must be one of Scotland’s distilleries about which I heard the most negative remarks. Apparently, they have completely lost their magic, as their earlier bottlings had lots of quality, while their recent range has been under par to say the least. In such a case, often you can find refuge with the independent bottlers, however, in the case of Scapa, there the search for quality is not sure either. Anyway, I never had any Scapa until recently, therefore not able to give any opinion from my side, but fortunately we had the opportunity to taste a Scapa from Gordon & MacPhail during the blind tasting competition, and it is all about experiences, right?
Initially, lots of sunflower oil, followed by an increasing amount of sweetness that fades quickly into apple peels and honey. There is certainly a very reasonably balance. I even detect a hint of sea air. The more oranges, and also a hint of sweet socks, I mean sweat socks. More pears, apples and tanned peaches, a hint of aluminium, then citrus fruits, then suddenly old milk and a hint of minerals. It definitely has its sour, which are not its strong points, and it seems slightly unstable. Very remarkable, slightly strange, slightly disturbing, but nonetheless interesting.
Let’s see what roller coaster we enter on the palate. It begins slightly acidic, drying, with barley, bread dough and barley sugar. I would say this seems very natural. Some slightly sharp notes, but these are quickly fading. They substituted with notes of coffee milk with a drop of coffee (let’s call it an extreme caffe latte), more barley juice, oranges and honey on crackers. It is slightly buttery, which is good, but also slightly simple. I would say it is very effective at what is does, which is being a natural malt.
The nose was a roller coaster with its highlights and off-notes, the palate was much more focussed and close to the origins without much cask influence. Where the off-notes I experienced recently in the Glen Scotia 2008 were enhancing the experience, here they have a negative impact on the nose. Without these notes, Scapa would be rather nice, and the absence of an overt cask influence is rather refreshing within today’s world of whisky.
Big thanks to for sharing the sample!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •