Scapa Gordon Macphail 2005
12 yo 2005-2018
Aged in ex-Bourbon casks 1st fill


Scapa, situated just south of Kirkwall on Orkney, was founded in 1855. It switched owners several times before settling down with Chivas Brothers in 2005. Before Chivas bought the distillery, it had been closed many times, and that is why there aren’t many Scapa editions on the market. It uses a very unique washbill, and is the only one to use that in Scotland : a gin washbill. They mostly use first-fill ex-Jack Daniel’s casks for their own whiskies, which then gets re-used to mature a Scapa that can be found in Chivas blends, especially Ballantines 17yo.
This particular whisky, a Gordon Macphail vintage 2005, contains the last barrels sold by Scapa to them. It is not believed that any other cask were sold afterwards to any company other than Chivas, altought I’m not 100% sure about this information !


Color: yellow pear flesh.

Nose: orange blossom, grapefruit, sure green apples. A sweet touch is added with honey and vanilla.

Palate: waxy texture, mixed with hints of flowers…roses, violet, lilac. Added to this are more grassy notes, especially with freshly cut grass.

Final: a return to the sweet side and adding a hint of bitterness, dark chocolate 68%. Slow decrescendo but remains short in the esophagus.

Comments: the other Orkney distillery does not get much love these days, and that’s a shame ! I tasted an IB and the old official bottling 16 years on the Islands, and it was very good…but the Skirren and Glansa, the only two official bottlings that have been around for some time (no announcement of an other product by the distillery so far), are ok at best. Not bad, not so desirable either. On the other hand, we have here a very nice bottling by Gordon Macphail. The alternation of fruit-flowers-sugar is well managed, and the alcohol, which I thought too diluted reading the label, is perfectly suited to the profile ! A beautiful bottle available in Western Canada for a hundred dollars 🙂

Scapa at the Tulip Festival in Ottawa, representing the flowery side of the whisky
Scapa Gordon Macphail 2005
6.3Reader's Review
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)

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About The Author

I never liked vodka&orange or vodka&cranberry while going out in the Montreal Clubs. I was always drinking whisky&ginger ale or whisky&coke. At some point, I just let go of the liquors and started drinking whisky neat... I hated the taste but damn was I a badass in front of my friends ! Eventually, I stopped being a douche and started enjoying finer drams. Today, I’m making it my mission to taste every whisky and to know everything there is to know about spirits, wine and beer !

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