Whisky Magazine Issue 130
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Jonny checks out whiskies from Orkney's southernmost distillery
Scapa Distillery wants to be noticed. In April, a new visitor centre opened there, the first in its 130 year history. Master Distiller Brian MacAuley finally took down the ‘Sorry No Visitors' sign that had warned off curious tourists who had to console themselves with a view of the white painted warehouses emblazoned with the distillery name. Now, you can see their unique barrel shaped Lomond still for yourself as well as taking in the stunning views over Scapa Flow.
J. T. Townsend built the distillery in 1885, and it was substantially rebuilt in 1959, though in the 1990s it fell virtually silent save for a token annual production undertaken by neighbouring Highland Park's production staff. It required a multimillion pound renovation a decade ago to return to regular distillation, beginning under Allied Domecq, and completed by current owners Pernod Ricard. There are now three dunnage and three racked warehouses and the current production output is about 400,000 litres.
The latest expression to try is Scapa Skiren, a NAS expression of sweet, juicy fruits matured exclusively in first fill American oak barrels, though avail yourself of the Ballantine's 17 Years Old Signature Distillery Scapa Limited Edition whilst you're at it. The modern style of Scapa is based on unpeated malt, and the soft, fruity character makes it ideal for those who prefer a rounded, Speyside character though seek out Gordon & MacPhail bottlings from 30 – 40 years ago to experience the briny, oily n...