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Scapa 16 Year Old

Malty gentleman in need of a boost

0 784

@Pierre_WReview by @Pierre_W

11th Nov 2016

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Overall
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Scapa distillery is located at the head of Scapa bay, south-west of Kirkwall on the main island of the Orkney isles, and was established as a private company in 1885. Production was stopped between 1934 and 1936 after then owners Scapa Distillery Co. Ltd. had gone into liquidation, and the distillery was mothballed in 1994, although from 1997 on a team from Highland Park distillery came over each year to distill a little whisky. Full time production resumed in 2004 and in 2005 the distillery was acquired by Pernod Ricard. The 16-year old expression was first launched in 2008 when it replaced the former 14-year old bottling and has been Scapa’s standard expression ever since.

The nose is light and fruity with plenty of lemon flavours, followed by honey and oranges. There is also a quite intensely malty note, reminiscent of beer, and a touch of brine.

The palate is smooth and oily but also a bit thin. The orange flavours are back, together with notes of lemon and honey.

The finish is short but pleasantly warming. The orange flavours are there again, together with notes of caramel and a hint of brine at the very end.

This is a delicate and very drinkable single malt, without any rough edges. I was rather fond of the nose with its lovely interplay between fruity and briny (or “maritime”) flavours. The weak spot, in my view, is the palate that would greatly benefit from a higher ABV.

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7 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

@Pierre_W, thank you for your informative review. I think that you and I see Scapa 16 yo rather similarly. It would be fun to visit the distillery up on the Orkney Islands someday.

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

How will they maintain this expression if the distillery produced minimal juice between 1994 and 2004?

3 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Thanks, @Victor. I guess it would be fun to travel to the Orkneys together someday. We could combine the trip with visits to the northern Highland distilleries: Wolfburn, Old Pulteney, and of course Clynelish/Brora. I have to say, though, that even for someone living in Continental Europe the Orkneys are quite far off.

3 years ago 0

@NAV26
NAV26 commented

@pierre_w, @victor, for a standard expression I liked this one a lot as well, there is something beguiling about it. I agree it could be great at 46% or even CS. As @nozinan points out it will probably be a few years before the distillery has stock in sufficient quantity to stop dilluting. Kind of makes you wonder what a CS sample from the distillery would taste like. Scapa doesnt seem to have much more than the 16 and the 2015 NAS skiren, and they seem to have severly limited releases to IBs in recent years.

3 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Good point, @Nozinan. Their stocks from older times must be impressive, otherwise they certainly would not be able to provide the aged stock required for the 16-year old. Although we really don't know how much was produced by the Highland Park team each year.

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Or, what the Highland Park team DID with it...

3 years ago 0

@chrisbator
chrisbator commented

Interesting history.... I really like the 14yr expression, at least I was able to stockpile some when I heard it was going away. Don't like the 16 as much... and have always wanted a higher abv....

But we got lucky with a local club bottling a couple of years ago.... a 19yr (distilled in 1989) bottled at 52.7%. It's everything you want those distillery bottlings to be...

3 years ago 0

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