French entrepreneurs to tackle whisky stereotypes


Scapa : a Northern Scottish pearl


We’re heading to the scenic Orkney Islands today to discover the second northenmost Scottish distillery (Highland Park Distillery standing only one mile further north).

Indeed, beneath the waters of Scapa Flow still lie the hulks of the German war fleet from World War I, scuttled on the orders of von Reuter who was fed up with the slowness of the post-war repatriation negotiations. During World War II, convoys gathered here for escorting across the Atlantic and Scapa distillery was used as accommodation for naval ratings.

The distillery was opened in 1885 and embarked on a century of production involving few changes of ownership. It was silent for two years from 1934 and was owned for a time by the owners of Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown. Scapa was rebuilt in 1959 with further internal improvements made in 1978.

The water supply carries a considerable amount of peat from the Lingro Burn and local springs, as a result of which the barley it uses is left unpeated. The waterwheel that supplied power to the original distillery is still there but the maltings were taken out of use in the 1960s not long after the rebuilding of the distillery (read more on UISGE)


In 2004 the Scapa Distillery was comprehensively upgraded and is now owned by Chivas Brothers Ltd. Scapa produces some single malts but by far the most of its whisky goes into blends such as Ballantine’s.

Only runned by 3 passionate operators and really busy throughout the year, the distillery is unfortunately not offering public visits but you can still try to arrange a private tour by directly contacting the team !

I do believe Scapa 16 years is what you can call a real “must-try” when it comes to Scotch whisky, and while I was indulging with a glass of this beautiful nectar last night, I realised I should write a few lines here.

Scapa makes legendary Single Malt in their 16-year-old “the Orcadian.” Gorgeous to look at with its golden amber hue, this malt produces prodigious, thick, slow-flowing legs down the side of the glass. The nose dances with fresh berries and light smoke as the sea saltiness washes through. Approachable with its creamy honey and broken, subtle peat mixed in with chocolate and pepper, it has a memorable palate. With its dry, peaty and rich finish, this un-chill-filtered whisky has both the personality of a classic malt and the attitude of an innovator.