The Redheaded stepchild of Orkney Distilleries, Scapa has had some ups and downs since being founded in 1885. From 1994 to 2005 the distillery was closed entirely. The industry giant, Pernod-Ricard, then acquired and reopened it. The initial release was this 14 year, which replaced the traditional Scapa 12. This year Scapa has replaced their 14 year with a 16 year, at a much higher price point. If you want to try this good value malt you’ll probably need to act somewhat quickly.
Heather, the low evergreen shrub, gives of an aroma that is often said to be present in Scotch. Presumably, the flowery scent in the air works its way into the casks over time much like the sea air. I would describe the smell as a cross between hot dry grass and eucalyptus. Scapa 14 really showcases this smell; for me it was like a light went off in terms of identifying this aroma in the scotch. Wild heather grows all over the island of Orkney, and certainly Scapa 14 shares many characteristics with its larger cousin up the road Highland Park. Hits of heather, honey, smoke, all in a light mix could also be a tasting note for Highland Park 12. Scapa differentiates itself by being a little lighter in taste, with a herbaceous twang that makes for a fresh finish with a hint of sweetness. The heathery, herbaceous side makes for a great palate cleanser when drinking scotch with cigars. If you want a daily sipper that’s a step up from the Glen’s, Scapa 14 really fits the bill.