Scapa Distillery, Orkney

Scapa Distillery, Orkney, Scotland


This evening, I am focusing on Scapa Distillery, Orkney, Scotland. To an extent the above title is inaccurate because there is no visitor centre centre or tours at Scapa. Most whisky aficionados on Orkney tour the nearby, and possibly more famous, Highland Park Distillery.

Scapa has had a long an chequered history since its founding in 1885 by Messrs Macfarlane & Townsend. Since the the distillery has undergone three ownership changes, liquidation, modernisation, refurbishment and mothballing. Scapa is currently owned by Chivas Brothers ( Pernod Ricard). Production capacity is 1.5 million litres per annum most of which finds its way into blends such as Teachers and Ballantine’s.

Key aspects of the Scapa distillation process:

  • A semi-lauter mash tun and eight washbacks.
  • At 160 hours, Scapa has the longest fermentation period of any distillery in Scotland.
  • The only distillery in Scotland with Lomond type wash still.
  • Uses ex-Bourbon casks for maturation.

The whisky from Scapa is heavy but not peated. The is a limited volume of single malts on the market, from the distillery and independent bottlers and these include:

  • 12 year old 40pct.
  • 12 year old 46 pct.
  • 12 year old 45 pct.
  • 14 year old 40pct
  • 14 year old 60.5pct ( cask strength).
  • Single Cask 1993 45pct.
  • 16 year old 43pct

A very distinctive whisky and very much differentiated from its neighbour, Highland Park.

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