Scapa 12

Scapa 12
Last week I referred to Glen Scotia as the other Campbeltown distillery. Here now is a malt from the other Orkney distillery, Scapa, who labour in the shadow of Highland Park. It is operated by Chivas Brothers, themselves part of Pernod-Ricard’s portfolio (you can find out more about the distillery at Malt Madness). I’ve not had very much of Scapa’s output in the past and so it’s appropriate that my first review of Scapa’s whisky should be of a general release distillery bottling (they don’t show up much from the indies anyway); and an entry-level bottling at that. However, this is not the current entry-level Scapa: that is a 16 yo, which replaced a 14 yo in 2008; that in turn had replaced this 12 yo in 2004 (they may have upped the age with each iteration but they’ve all stayed at 40%). So, if you’re one of those people who grumble that I don’t review enough entry-level whisky you can now grumble that I don’t review enough current entry-level whisky. 

Scapa 12 (40%; from a purchased sample)

Nose: Very sweet and fresh (apples mostly) and then a grassy, slightly metallic note and a bit of lemon. After a minute or two some pear joins the apple. After a further minute it gets muskier.

Palate: Very much as on the nose and not as thin as I’d feared it would be at 40%. The lemon is perhaps more prominent here than on the nose and the apples and pears less so. The metallic note a bit stronger too (this could be on account of the presumably high shelf age of the bottle from which this sample was poured).

Finish: Short. Not much to report except a late maltiness.

Comments: Basic, fundamentally sound whisky. Whisky of this kind is not going to get anyone excited (unless they drink a lot of it) but it’s solid stuff. At 46% or even 43% this could well have been very good. I’m looking forward to the sample I have of the 20 yo from Chivas’ Cask Strength Edition series and I must also check out the current 16 yo.

Rating: 80 points.


2 thoughts on “Scapa 12

  1. Here’s my brief report on the Scapa 14yo (40%), which as you mention stands between the current 16yo and the 12yo you reviewed: “Bland and boring. Some citrus notes, malty. C+”. Sounds like they are keeping a consistent line through their releases. (This was just your review, condensed to ≤10 words.) I had no trouble finishing the bottle, though I got serious help – it was at a conference party in Poland, on the brink of going wild.

    I also have the cask-strength 50cl Scapa – will that be the first bad bottle in the Cask Strength Edition? I very much doubt it!


    • I tried the Scapa 14 some years ago. Have it at 82 points in my spreadsheet. Jordan called the 16 yo boring too on Twitter. I don’t know, however, that I would describe this 12 yo as “bland and boring” though I can certainly see how some (many?) would do so. I would prefer to describe it as simply pleasurable and highly drinkable. It’s lightly fruity, lightly floral and malty: I’d never turn down a pour.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.