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In the last few months Scapa finally emerged from the shadows as a single malt distillery: new bottlings (even a peated !?! release), a visitors centre and unfortunately they too are ditching that ‘cumbersome’ age statement. With whiskies like the Orcadian, an NAS release by Scapa, we are far from the era where independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail had a quasi-monopoly on these distillery labels. Distilleries used to be entirely focused on the blended market so they licensed their single malt releases to G&M: Mortlach, Glentaucher, Glenburgie, Ardmore, Linkwood, Glen Grant, Dallas Dhu, Longmorn, Linkwood,… the list goes on and on. Today I will be reviewing their take on Scapa. As it is a miniature version of one of their vintage releases, there is no telling when it was bottled, but presumably this is the 1994 release, making it 10 years old.
Description: distilled in 1983, matured for 10 years in an unknown casks, bottled at age 10 in 1994 by G&M at 40% ABV for their “Distillery Label” collection.
Nose: the sea, the sea! Sea spray on chalk-cliffs, wood smoke from a smouldering fire on the beach. Simply delicious! A citrusy touch of bergamot, with the aroma of geranium and vanilla fudge.
Mouth: the body is definitely on the lighter side and quite sour, on the palate there are notes of citrus, geranium, white pepper and cacao powder.
Finish: short, sharp and drying.
Verdict: once again the nose displays all the things I’ve come to expect from Scapa, but the palate is feeble, spirit-like, harsh and lacking any notion of depth. Sorry G&M but this could and should have been a better whisky.