Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

A look back at the history of Scapa

Scrolling along the many, many whisky influencers that populate Instagram, I stumbled upon some screenshots of new Scapa labels. One of a 16 years old, one of a 21 years old, both bottled at 48 % abv. I tried to find more information on the internet, but so far I have not seen any confirmation on when these supposed expressions are coming to the market. With AI these days, one could even wonder if it was real. We would love to see more of Scapa, that other Orcadian distillery, the one that not relies heavily on Vikings to do the lifting.

Anyway, while we wait, we will taste an old Scapa from yesteryear, that used to be one of my favourite fruity whisky’s back in the day. Somehow, you remember all those bottles you opened, shared and emptied from the early days of whisky passion much better than some of the giants tasted after that. This is a rather modest expression at 14 years and just 40 % abv. It was preceded by a rather charming 12 years old, and followed by a 16 years old that was quite nice too, before Scapa resorted to NAS bottlings with nice names and lesser content. They did cost you more. The whisky curve of the last 10, 15 years in a nutshell, right?

Scapa 14 years old, bottled at 40 % abv

Makeup: No information to be found. Bottled in the year 2007.

General impressions: A very flowery, fragrant and slightly maritime nose to begin with. A lavender smell does not promise anything good, but it is compensated with a good dose of freshly washed green apples. Some barley sweetness arising from under the layers of vanilla and smoked wood. Incredibly light-hearted, I have to say. A good dram to pour when you come home from work and want to wind down before sitting down for dinner.

A sweetly honeyed and watery texture on the tongue, which is probably the fight between the whisky and the diluting to 40 % abv. 

Lots of vanilla, delicate wood and a whiff of smoke that makes for an interesting infusion of different styles. A bit Highland and a good dose of Island character.

The typical flower fragrance is constantly making this Scapa do a balance act on a tight rope. It just does not tip over to the soapy side, but I do think almost 20 years in the glass was not the best thing to happen to this expression, mostly due to that diluting. I don’t know if you believe in the benefit of bottle ageing, but if so, in my opinion it is best done with cask strength whisky.

Conclusion: As it stands, it is a fine daily dram, not unlike The Glenlivet 12 years old, which has the same characteristics. A maritime influence does provide some more complexity, but it cannot really shine at 40 %.

Score: 80 points

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