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Scapa 16 Year Old

24 Days of Christmas: Day 5!

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@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

29th Dec 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

My wife recently bought me the coolest calender ever made for me for Christmas.

A whisky calender!

24 different samples bottled by Master of Malt, covering a variety of styles, ages, strengths and countries.

When I saw it in my email I knew THAT'S what I wanted for Christmas so I sent my wife that email as a very subtle hint to her and she, being insanely observant and deep picked up on that hint.

Each calender is different, containing different samples in each of them. The only constant in each of calenders was a 50 year old Speyside whisky that Master of Malt had bottled.

I'd gone through Islays, Highlands, Lowlands, and Irish whiskies so far in my calender and today I was going to be tasting an Island whisky.

Even cooler it was an Island distillery that I'd never tried before.


Now this is the second furthest North distillery in Scotland, being just half a mile South of Highland Park. Another one of my favorite distilleries!

This was the 16 year old, so not quite entry level considering that they also produce a 14 year old.

Relaxing as I cook dinner I crack open the sample bottle and pour it's contents into the glencairn.

First off let's nose!

First thing that comes through is honeyed toffee, then it goes salty with hints of peat and fruit.

It's a nice nose, nothing super special, but not bad and it does make me eager to take a taste.

Which is the very thing that I shall do!

Starts sweet then it jumps to sea salt covered bananas.

Lots of bananas. Actually salty bananas are the strongest flavors that come through on this whisky. It tastes good, but sadly it's boring.

Finish is of a nice length with more and more bananas coming through, with just a hint of salt at the end.

Not a bad little whisky, however while it's not bad, it's boring, non complex.

And odds are I'm going to guess that a bottle of this would normally run around $120 AUS which is way too much for a nice, but boring 16 yr old whisky.

If you get a chance to taste it, go for it. I don't think you'll be upset, but spending more then $60-$70 AUS and you're sadly paying too much.

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Rigmorole commented

This one is $90 in Oregon. I'm curious. Will taste before I buy. You make some good points about why I should not buy. I have made some big mistakes in the past few months. The biggest: Highland Park 18 and Dalmore 15. Together, they cost about $200 USD. Both were putrid, bitter, and tasted worse than their 12 year counterparts. At any rate, thanks again for the tips about Scapa. I more cautious about what I buy now, although I must say that I've tasted some very good HP18 before. I got a dud of a bottle that really tastes like junk. As for the Dalmore, it seems overpowered by the fake caramel flavoring. I taste artificial sweetner/colorer more than the actual whisky.

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Ouch! $90!? Holy crap! I'd be hard pressed to pay $70 for it....I mean Talisker 10 yr old is $65 over here, Ardbeg 10 is $90, Macallan 12 is $85. Funny that you mention the Highland Park 18. Had it at our last whisky tasting, wasn't bad, but nothing I'd throw down $150 for, figured it was just an oxidized bottle, but maybe it wasn't. Sounds like they have got some batch variation going on there. Dalmore for me tends to be boring.

Anyway I hope that you continue to find the reviews helpful my friend! Should have some sexy Kavalan Taiwanese whisky reviews on Connosr over the next week.

8 years ago 0

YakLord commented

The 16yr is currently Scapa's only expression. The distillery wasn't really operational between 1997 and 2004, and production is still quite minimal. The standard bottling was a 12yr, which was changed to a 14yr in 2004 and then to the 16yr in 2004 as they bottle aging stocks and wait for the whisky that was distilled in 2004 onward to mature...I'm interested in seeing what the new production is like, and whether they relaunch the 12yr in 2016, or whether they keep with the 16yr.

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Awesome information @YakLord! I had no clue about that :D I'd be interested to see it younger and at a higher strength, say 46% to be honest, I think it could be a much better whisky then the 16 yr old yo to be honest.

8 years ago 0

YakLord commented

I agree, @SquidgyAsh: if they bottled it at even 43%, I'd be a happier man, but I think, and this is a guess at best, that in order to stretch the existing aging stocks as far as they can while they wait for production to catch up, they don't really have a choice but to bottle it at 40%. I do like that it is 100% ex-bourbon barrel aged and that the only peat is the fact that the water flows through a peat bog. It is a very interesting contrast with the other distillery in Orkney.

8 years ago 0

YakLord commented

Just realized I made a mistake in the earlier comment - they changed from the 12yr to the 14yr in 2004, and from the 14yr to the 16yr in 2008...

8 years ago 0

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