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Issue 41 - BackfromthebrinkforScapa

Whisky Magazine Issue 41
July 2004

 

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BackfromthebrinkforScapa

TheScapadistilleryonOrkneyistobereopenedfulltimeafteryearsofneglectDominicRoskrowvisitedit

IftheownersofScapadistilleryneededasignthatitstimewasfinallyuptheygotitduringatempestuouseveningonOrkneylastAugust.Duringastormlightningtooktheelectricityout.Permanently.

“Theelectricianswhowerequiteyoungtookonelookatthewiringandsaidtheydidn'tknowwhattodowithit,”recallsAlliedDomecq'smaltdistilleriesdirectorJimMcLean.“Theysaidthey'dneverseenanythinglikeitoutsideamuseum.”AndsoScapareacheditsingloriousend.

Nobodywastoosurprised.Ithadbeenonthecriticallistforsometime,havingbeeneffectivelymothballedbyAlliedsomesevenyearsbefore.TokeepstocksofthesinglemaltaliveitwasreopenedforacoupleofmonthseachyearandstaffedbyformerScapaemployeesnowemployedbyEdringtonatnearbyHighlandPark.

“Butthetruthbetold,wewouldn'thaverunanyofourotherdistilleriesinthesortofstateScapawasin,”saysMichaelCockram,directorofmaltsforAlliedDomecq.“AndneitherwouldEdrington.Sowelookedatitandstartedtoaskourselveswhyitwasacceptabletorunitinthestateitwasinbetweenthetwoofus.”

Thatshouldhavebeenthat–andifyouwereabettingman,you'dhavebetyourlastdramonthefactthatScapawassettobeconsignedtohistory.

June2004:TheOrkneyIsleshaveahabitofrapidlyreclaimingtonatureanythingabandonedbyman.FromtheNeolithicvillageatSkaraBrae,andtheancientstonecirclesthatcharacterisethismostwonderfulgroupofislandstothechapelbuiltbyItalianprisonersduringtheSecondWorldWar,man-madelandmarkshavebeenassimilatedintothescenery.

Thesailsofsunkenshipsdottheshorelines,andinScapaFlowtheseahasreclaimedawholefleetofGermanwarshipsandanofficialgravemar...

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