Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 22nd December 2013
This is my 3rd bottle of Scapa in my collection and every one has been bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. As much as I’ve enjoyed Scapa in the past, I think it will be many years before I purchase an official bottling from the Scapa distillery. They are simply too expensive for what they produce. The entry-level option from Scapa is their 16-year-old which, when adding postage, would be over £50. Then you consider that Jim Murray says of this malt “to be so tamed and toothless is a crime against a truly great whisky” in his 2014 Whisky Bible. It’s a shame Scapa don’t take a leaf from the book of their Orkney neighbours Highland Park, who have a 12-year-old bottling that can sometimes be found in supermarkets for £25 – half the price of their 16yo! Admittedly Jim Murray isn’t impressed with this Highland Park either but with the £25 you save from not getting the Scapa you could put it towards an excellent malt like the Talisker 10yo!
I remember years ago that the Scapa 12yo was excellent, and I believe the 14yo was good too. It’s such a shame that standards have slipped with the 16yo, especially for a distillery that was mothballed in 1994 and was set for closure in 2004. Instead it reopened that year and the 14yo release was a great success. I fear that adding an extra 2 years (making the whisky more expensive) but losing the quality is a dangerous step in the wrong direction for Scapa.