Scapa is located close to the village of St. Ola on the Orkney islands, which lie off the north Highland coast. In fact, it is the second most northerly distillery in Scotland and is misses out on first place to Highland Park by just half a mile! Scapa was founded in 1885 and is currently owned by drinks giant Pernod Ricard. It is a small distillery that produces one million litres of whisky a year, although a decent percentage of this is passed on to be used in the range of Chivas Regal blends. As a result, this 14 years old and a new 16 years old are the only whiskies released by the distillery at present with occasional bottlings of older versions. Scapa is popular with the independent bottling companies and is more widely available through them. This 14 years old was only released for the first time in 2004 and both sales and Scapa's cult following continue to grow. A bottle should cost £35-40.
This has a gorgeous golden colour and the nose is very promising. There is a sweetness that is a cross between malted barley and butterscotch, with some vanilla and nuts (imagine almonds). When tasted on the palate, the first thing that is noticed is that this whisky feels very creamy and thick. It is full of vanilla and that butterscotch again. That almond nuttiness starts to come through and more interesting elements join too. There is a hint of a warm spice (like nutmeg or cinnamon), something citrus that pleasantly cuts through the creaminess and some dried fruit (think of sultanas). Maybe, there is a slight salty tang to it also. The finish is quite long and warming with the butterscotch particularly prominent. A very pleasing dram that would be an excellent choice to give to someone who thinks that they didn't like whisky or who hadn't tried much whisky. It is very approachable and easy drinking and is well worth hunting down a bottle.