You probably know the phrase “Timing is everything”. We all encounter situations and cases where the phrase is fitting like a glove to a hand. Although it’s not always a positive match, in my case and my wish to visit Scapa distillery, it was a perfect and positive match.
Back when I planned my Scotland trip and planned my Orkney day, I hoped that despite lacking a visitors center and a website that declared that the staff is too busy to take care of visitors, I’ll manage to arrange myself a wee tour at Scapa distillery. After all, being a whisky blogger should count toward something, right?
But just when I was about to finalize my plans for the trip, Scapa distillery announced a new visitors center and tours around the distillery, ha! Indeed, timing was perfect and it was an easy matter of contacting the distillery and booking a tour 🙂
So on a rainy and grey afternoon we strolled into the new Scapa visitors center. First thing you notice: It’s small. And cozy.
Not only it was small and cozy, it was clear that the tours is a new operation at the distillery. Our new and cute tour guide was still pretty much reciting explanations without lots of personal touch – since it’s the silent season at Scapa, our group was small and it was easy to detect it but nevertheless, it was clear and professional and I’m sure time and practice will help there.
As it was the silent season and very much near its end, the equipment was clean and shiny, almost buzzing in anticipation to get back to work.
Then we stopped at the warehouse. As you can see in the picture below, it’s not a dunnage warehouse. In fact, there are no dunnage warehouses in Scapa, only racked warehouses containing 6 rows high of casks. As you can see, there are only ex-bourbon casks at the warehouses and the guide said they only fill ex-bourbon casks (although I don’t think it’s impossible that some ex-sherry casks with Scapa spirit exists somewhere).
Then we went back to the visitors center and had a dram of the Scapa 16 year old. I hoped to try Skiren but it was no show yet at the distillery. I already tasted and reviewed it here if you want to read my notes but I was delighted to tasted it again and find out it’s better than I remembered 🙂
Overall it was a nice wee tour and I hope they will expand it to include more in depth tours and casks tastings… 😉
Name: Scapa Distillery
Owners: Chivas Brothers
Location: Scapa, Orkney
Water source: Lingro Burn and local sources
Stills: 1 Wash still, 1 Spirit still
Capacity (yearly): 1,000,000 litres
Tour in a nutshell
Tours availability: See on their site
Cost of tour: £7.5
Length of tour: 45 minutes to an hour
Distillery Exclusive bottles: No, but Chivas CS series available.