So it's 11:30am on Christmas Eve - miraculously, most of the presents are wrapped. Pam just finished a huge baking session and is napping. So I'm taking a minute to check this now-discontinued bottling from Scapa.
Scapa Distillery is located on the Orkney Islands, about a half mile south of Highland Park. It was founded in 1885, surprisingly staying in production for over a hundred years, finally shutting down in 1994. Three years later it was re-opened but only seasonally, using staff from Highland Park (it seems to never be able to come out from under their shadow). It was purchased by Allied Domecq in 2004, and is currently owned by Chivas Bros. This 16 Year Old used to be part of the core range (which before then, had been a 14 year old). However, it has been discontinued and replaced by the no-age-statement Skiren (which I've never tried).
It has a medium-straw colour. Sweet and malty on the nose, with light honey, lemon curd and a hint of heather (perhaps from that Orcadian peat?) Soft vanilla. Apples and bananas, both green. I like the brininess, but not so much the perfume notes, which thankfully are subtle. Don't bother adding water, it just dilutes everything. Very pleasant and drinkable, with a nice hint of heathery peat, but not terribly distinctive.
Smooth on the palate, and again the prickly peat is nice (note that it's not smoky - an important difference!) More fruitiness with green apple, a hint of guava and more lemon. Light vanilla. Very much in sync with the nose in every way - again, pleasant and very drinkable but not too exciting.
The creamy finish is fairly non-descript with light oak and lemon peel. This really needs more spice, more edge, more bite - and doesn't make me want to rush out and try the Skiren.