Even after all these years of drinking whisky, I’m still not sure how to feel about Scapa. Not even after having visited the distillery. Maybe I should just drink some more Scapa, because I honestly haven’t tried that much of their single malt. We’ll start with a Scapa 2000 20 Years from a refill sherry hogshead, bottled by Gordon & MacPhail.
What sets this distillery apart? One of the first things that usually comes up is the Lomond-style wash still. And I get it, because it is an unusual sight. It was installed in the 1950s and the necks contained moveable copper plates to create more or less reflux. However, these plates have been removed, essentially demoting the still to a regular copper pot still. Somewhat oddly shaped, but it functions like any other.
At one point in time Scapa also employed the longest fermentation time in the industry. At 160 hours it was quite significant. I’m not sure if the Lomond-still was still in working order at the time, but combining these two production elements would theoretically lead to an extremely fruity spirit. The long fermentation was mainly due to low production and is now down to more average length.
So, yeah, I’m not sure what there is about Scapa that should draw me in. I haven’t found it yet. Unless it is their whisky, of course. Which could well be enough. The distillery’s core range isn’t very inspiring. And this independent bottling wasn’t very convincing either. Fingers crossed for this one…
Scapa 2000 20 Years (55.3%, Gordon & MacPhail, C#1096)
Nose: Notes of blackcurrants take centre stage, as well as some burlap, cherry bonbons and raisins. There are touches of leather, furniture polish and nougat, but also brown sugar. Taste: Rich, velvety mouthfeel with whispers of ginger, nutmeg and caramel-glazed apples. There’s a whisper of crushed mint, but also some figs, orange zest and apricots. Somewhat dry, but never crossing the line. Finish: A lingering dryness, oranges and toffee. Medium in length.
I'm not familiar enough with Scapa's flavour characteristics, but I'll carefully state that this whisky is more about cask than spirit. The oak is slightly dominant at times, but a pleasing whisky remains nonetheless.