Scapa Skiren

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Scapa distillery was founded in 1885 in Kirkwall. Named after Scapa Flow, the body of water surrounded by the Orkney Islands, the distillery sits half a mile south of Highland Park, the most northern distillery in Scotland. The distillery was built by Glasgow man John Townsend in order to supply spirit to the big blending houses of the time and indeed this remained its primary function until its closure in 1994.

The closure wasn’t the first time Scapa distillery had nearly come to an end. In 1919, a mysterious fire tore through the building, destroying everything in its path. The blaze was spotted by one of the Royal Navy ships stationed in the Flow, and boatloads of men were despatched landwards, forming a human chain to carry water from the beach to the burning distillery. Were it not for the quick reactions of the Royal Navy, it is likely Scapa would have been damaged beyond all repair and lost forever.

Fortunately, Scapa was saved from a fiery doom and in 2004, it was saved from closure and relaunched as a 14 year old single malt. The following year it was acquired by Pernod Ricard who introduced a new standard 16 year old expression and created a visitor centre which opened to the public in 2015.


Scapa ‘Skiren’ is bottled at 40% and is available in the UK for around £30. Skiren is Old Norse for ‘Glittering Skies’.

Smell: Honey, Cream and Malt intermingle with Apple and a touch of Almond.

Taste: Spicey and Woody with Biscuit, Nut and Honey. Doesn’t quite live up the nose.

Value for Money: For around £30 you get a tasty, very drinkable dram. No complaints.

Score: 79

For a no age statement whisky, bottled at 40% abv, this is a rather pleasant dram. Perhaps lacking in something of a unique distillery identity, but an enjoyable sip nonetheless. Better than I expected.

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