Along the rocky and rugged shores of the Isle of Orkney you will find the Scapa Distillery, and today I am reviewing their latest release, and first peated release; Scapa Glansa.
Owned by Chivas Brothers, and characterised as an artisanal distillery with a product that captures the essence of their island home, Scapa is a gem of a whisky to find – and I’m glad the range is gently expanding.
With that in mind, they have recently released their first peated expression, Scapa Glansa. The name comes from Old Norse for shining storm laden skies and captures the unique history of the isle of Orkney, with its Viking past as well as the stormy spirit inside the bottle.
Scapa pride themselves on their dedication to traditional distilling and are one of the few manually run distilleries around today.
There are a total of 5 “artisans” and a master distiller, who work to man the distillery 24 hours a day, in successive shifts. This makes for an authentic Whisky that knows its roots.
To promote their newest malt they went back to those roots and enlisted the help of well-known Instagrammers to capture inspiring shots of Orkney and post it with the hashtag #scapaspirit.
It’s needless to say these images are incredible and will make you book a holiday to Orkney immediately.
They also capture the amazing malt that has been made here.
Scapa Glansa opens with a strong nose, full of fruit and sweetness. It has tangy citrus fruits alongside subtle orchard fruits with a nice crisp edge.
There are plenty of peaches and apples with the tell-tale zest of oranges and lemons. These give way to an oaky flavour that brings in some caramel and vanilla charm.
Underneath all this is of curse a wonderful, dense whiff of bonfire smoke, filled with charcoal and sulphur.
It ties up the fruit well and is a nice backdrop for the sweetness to play against.
On the palate these flavours are given breathing room and really begin to show themselves. The peaches and apples are joined by ripe pears, flooding the mouth with more orchard fruitiness.
The lemon zest also becomes more pronounced and is joined by some wonderfully smooth caramel, with subtle hints of oak wood.
The tang and the smooth caramel come together perfectly and also contribute to an easy-going mouth feel.
The caramel has depth and character and as well as interacting with the fruits it also bounces off the whiff of smoke drifting across the taste buds.
The smoke is dense but not overwhelming, allowing the other flavours to show themselves fully. It is soft and warm, making this the perfect malt for cold, winter nights.
The finish is long and winding, allowing the smoke to move like it is coming straight off a peat fire.
Everything is wrapped up in these long wafts of peat, making for a fantastically well rounded end to an exquisite whisky, Scapa Glansa is well worth taking a look at. Try it with ginger ale too, you’ll thank me.
Also published on Medium.