Scapa Skiren

Scotch Whisky Review #333: Scapa Skiren

Distillery: Scapa.

Region: Island.

Age: NAS.

ABV: 40.0%.

Cask Type: American Oak.

Price: $12 for a pour at Proof in Omaha, NE.

Color: 1.1, Burnished.


Nose: It’s a touch, just a touch, musty. Fermented fruits and a bit of assorted liqueurs come through. Fermenting white grapes is the main note followed by a bit of pear cordial and a dash of cinnamon liqueur.

Palate: It starts off like mineral water that has had some syrup poured in and mixed. It is sugary up front but the minerals are still quite present and somehow manage to give this a touch of bitterness once the initial sugar rush passes over. There’s a bit of something metallic, which isn’t particularly great. A note of funky yeast or a bit of rehydrated mushroom water comes through. With a touch of water, the metallic note does vanish but the rest of it stays the same. Sugary up front, bit of mineralness, and that rehydrated mushroom water note.

Finish: Surprisingly long in length. Creamy and a touch fruity. Pear mousse and freeze dried pear chips are what come to mind. It does leave behind a mineral-like aftertaste quite heavily.


Conclusion: This NAS release by Orkney’s other distillery is my first venture into Scapa. I’ve never had it and really didn’t have any preconceived notions of what the whisky is like, though I did go in wanting to test a theory of mine. If you’ve seen many of my reviews of the more famous Orkney distillery, Highland Park, you’ll find that I often find the well regarded whisky generally heavily lacking. My theory has been that there might be something literally in the water (or perhaps just the environment) on the island that is off putting for me. Though these two do not share a water source, they are close enough geographically that if it is the case, I might see it pop up in the other. While the Skiren perhaps isn’t the greatest whisky to come out of Orkney, it does seem to lend a little bit of credence to my theory. This tasted like a cheap knock-off version of Glenmorangie’s Allta, with the mushroom-y funk notes that dominate the palate. The notes of minerals and metals that go along with it aren’t doing this many favors either. Would I buy a bottle? No.

Final Score: 72.


Scotch Whisky Review #333, Island Review #50, Whisky Network Review #478


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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