When my friend The Gin Man recently came to visit, he took a look at the drinks shelf and immediately picked out a particular box. ‘That is beautiful,’ he said, ‘a real work of art.’
The box contained a bottle of Scapa Glansa, the new expression from the Orkney distillery, Scapa. I was lucky enough to visit the distillery last year, to do a tour and see their new visitor centre. And of course to sample a wee dram or three of their new single malt, Scapa Skiren. You can read about it here:
I also wrote about it here for The Huffington Post:
I liked Scapa Skiren for its honeyish-sweetness, its floral aroma and citrus flavours, and for the fact that it wasn’t too peaty. One of the other visitors, a whisky expert and writer, said that it tasted like a whisky for people who think they don’t like whisky.
It was a bit worrying, then, to be sent a sample of Scapa’s new expression, Scapa Glansa, and to discover that it’s their first peated single malt. Never mind that the box is a work of art, what would it taste like? The good news (for me at least) is that it isn’t a full-on peated whisky. Instead it’s regular Scapa whisky that has been aged in American oak casks and then further aged in casks that previously held peated whisky.
People who know about these things tell me that this means it isn’t really a peated single malt, but a single malt that has been finished in peated casks. I’m not too worried about such niceties. Just as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the proof of the peating is in the drinking, so let’s try it.
On the nose everything I liked about Scapa Skiren is still there – the honey sweetness, the floral and citrus notes, a hint of vanilla – but wrapping it all up is a gentle peaty smokiness, that balances everything well. Tasting it, the peatiness comes through slightly more strongly, but not overpowering all the other subtle Scapa flavours. That smokiness came through strongest on the finish, but again nothing that made my eyes water, as some peated whiskies almost do.
To borrow the phrase my colleague used about Scapa Skiren, Scapa Glansa may be a peated whisky for people who think they don’t like peated whiskies – like me. It may just change my way of thinking, and for me this is another winner from that lovely little distillery in the magical Orkneys.
The Spirit of Instagram
To spread the word about Scapa, and about the beauty of Orkney which produces it, the company had the bright idea of inviting three of the world’s top Instagrammers to visit them and record this amazing place. The three instagrammers were Dan Rubin (@danrubin) from the UK, Kyle Kuiper (@kdkuiper) from the USA and Saúl Aguilar (@saaggo) from France.
You can see the results by searching for the #ScapaSpirit hashtag, or by following the distillery, @scapawhisky. I’ve made this a much more visual post, to give you an idea of just how gorgeous the Orkney landscape and the distillery’s setting is, overlooking Scapa Flow, the second-biggest natural harbour in the world.
The last five photos were all taken on my own visit to Scapa by ace photographer